An oil tanker has caught fire east off the Sri Lankan coast, the Indian Coast Guard said on Thursday, adding that ships and aircraft have been deployed for assistance.
The New Diamond, a very large crude carrier chartered by the Indian Oil Corporation, had sailed from the port of Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait and was heading towards the port of Paradip in India, Reuters reported. The vessel was carrying 2,70,000 tonnes of oil.
The Indian Navy said that ships deployed in the region have been diverted to undertake rescue operations and provide assistance.
While the Indian Coast Guard said the vessel caught fire 37 nautical miles east off the island country, Sri Lankan Navy spokesperson Commander Ranjith Rajapaksa put the distance at 20 nautical miles east off the country’s coast. Rajapaksa also said that the Sri Lanka air force has deployed an aircraft and the country’s Navy has sent two ships for assistance.
Sri Lanka’s Marine Protection Authority said it would take measures to prevent any possible oil leak from the tanker of the vessel.
“The fire happened at 7.45 am IST [Indian Standard Time],” said an unidentified Indian official. “The nature [of the incident] is explosion and fire and serious injury to the crew. The crew wants to abandon the ship.” The official added that oil product tanker Helen M, in a time charter agreement with the Reliance Industries, has also joined the rescue operation.