(VIDEO) Dry Chemical Powder tested by SLAF instrumental to douse MT New Diamond Blaze

(VIDEO) Dry Chemical Powder tested by SLAF instrumental to douse MT New Diamond Blaze

Written by Zulfick Farzan

06 Sep, 2020 | 8:09 pm

Colombo (News 1st) The fire aboard the MT New Diamond Crude Oil Tanker was completely doused, confirmed the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne. 

However, he said it cannot be assured the fire will not arise again considering the temperatures on the MT New Diamond. 

 The MT New Diamond crude oil tanker was transporting 270,000 metric tons of crude oil from the port of Meena Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Port of Paradip in India when a fire broke out aboard in the eastern seas of Sri Lanka on 03rd September 2020 at around 0800 hrs.  

The ship was sailing 38 nautical miles off Sangamankanda Point when it caught fire with an explosion in a boiler in the ship’s main engine room. 

Nearly 79 hours after the distress was reported, the Sri Lanka Navy and other stakeholders including the Sri Lanka Air Force, Sri Lanka Coast Guard, Sri Lanka Army, Marine Environment Protection Authority, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard, were able to bring the fire under control at around 3.00 p.m. on Sunday (o6th) evening, as a result of their strenuous firefighting effort. 

The successful management of this disaster, which also received special attention worldwide, paved the way to avert a major maritime catastrophe that could have occurred, had not it been mitigated in short period of time.  

Meanwhile, the Dry Chemical Powder (DCP) sacks tested by the Sri Lanka Air Force delivered successful results to smother the raging flames onboard. 

Under these circumstances, the Indian Navy and salvage specialist teams will board the distressed vessel and inspect its interior using high-tech equipment. 

Although the fire has now been completely doused, there is a possibility of a recurrence of the fire due to the high temperature inside the ship and environmental influences.  

Therefore, Sri Lanka Navy is on high alert and is ready for any emergency.  

Meanwhile, a team of 10 British and Netherlands experts, including salvage operations experts, assessors and a legal adviser arrived in Sri Lanka this morning under the facilitation of the company that works as the commercial and technical operator of MT New Diamond.  

The team of experts will make an assessment of the damage caused to the ship. Accordingly, the proceedings regarding the ship will be decided on their recommendations. 

Further, the Sri Lanka Navy will continue to provide assistance to the distressed ship until it leaves the Sri Lanka’s Maritime Search and Rescue Region. 

New Shipping Limited, the commercial owner of New Diamond in Athens, Greece, has appointed SMIT Singapore Pte Ltd, an international Singapore-based company, as its salvage expert. 

The company is currently sending equipment and experts in crude oil disaster management to MT New Diamond to commence the salvage operation. 

The TTT One tugboat, which is currently at the distressed vessel, has a team including a salvage chief who can deal with such disasters. 

Meanwhile, two more large tugboats that can handle crude oil tankers are to join TTT One and those two tugs have already left Singapore and Mauritius. 

On Sunday (06) afternoon, Attorney General Dappula De Livera held a meeting with the stakeholders involved in battling the blaze aboard the distressed Crude Oil Tanker, the MT New Diamond. 

The Attorney General met with the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Director General of Merchant Shipping & Chairman of the Marine Environment Protection Authority to review & advise on issues arising from the fire on the MT New Diamond, confirmed State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne, the Coordinating Officer to the Attorney General. 

State Counsel Jayaratne said the meeting lasted for around 03 hours and the stakeholders were advised to coordinate and prepare and estimate of the cost incurred by, and the loss caused to the Government of Sri Lanka. 

MEPA was advised to visit the site of the distressed MT New Diamond and conduct an investigation to ascertain if any damage was caused to the marine environment as a result of the blaze. 

The Attorney General had strongly advised authorities to ensure COVID-19 prevention guidelines are strictly followed when International Experts are flow to the country. 

AG Dappula De Livera had stressed to prepare an estimate on an environmental damage in the event of an oil spill does take place and to prepare necessary disaster management protocols. 

The Sri Lanka Ports Authority dispatched a 14-member team of professionals to the site of the distressed MT New Diamond Crude Oil Tanker. 

Navy Spokesperson India De Silva said the team of professionals from SLPA would be sent to the site from Hambatota aboard a Sri Lanka Navy Fast Attack Craft. 

MT New Diamond, an oil tanker sailing 38 nautical miles off Sangaman-kanda Point east of Sri Lanka issued a distress signal on 3rd September 2020. 

The distressed oil tanker in eastern seas was manned by 23 crew members including 5 Greeks and 18 Philippine nationals, one of them is feared to be dead inside the distressed supertanker. 

Further, the tanker was transporting 270,000 metric tons of crude oil from the port of Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Indian port of Paradip, when it faced this unfortunate event. 

It is also reported that 1700 metric tons of diesel required for the use of the tanker is also stored onboard. 

MT New Diamond is a 20-year old crude oil tanker that is 333 meters long and 60 meters wide, and sailed with a Japanese certificate and is registered in Panama. 

Sri Lankan authorities on Friday (Sep 04) revealed ‘MT New Diamond’ crude oil tanker which is a 330-metre (1,080-foot) vessel is owned by Liberia-based Porto Emporios Shipping Inc.


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