Indian-Chartered Oil Tanker Catches Fire Off The Coast Of Sri Lanka

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Indian-Chartered Oil Tanker Catches Fire Off The Coast Of Sri Lanka

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On September 3rd, the MT New Diamond oil tanker, sailing under a Panama flag, caught fire off the coast of Sri Lanka.

The ship is fully loaded with about 2 million barrels of oil, and is chartered by the Indian Oil Corp. New Diamond sailed from the port of Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait, loaded with Kuwait Export Crude, Refinitiv Eikon tracking data showed. It was heading for the Indian port of Paradip, where state-run IOC has a 300,000 barrel-per-day refinery.

 

Taking to Twitter, Indian Coast Guard (ICG) said ICG ships and aircraft have been deployed for immediate assistance.

The Sri Lankan Navy asked for assistance.

 

Sri Lanka Navy spokesman Captain Indika de Silva said flames had spread to the New Diamond’s bridge, but there was no damage to the cargo area.

“We will need an international effort,” de Silva said.

A statement released late on September 3rd by the navy said the New Diamond, a very large crude carrier (VLCC), was crewed by 5 Greek and 18 Philippine nationals.

One Philippine national was injured and another was missing following the fire, the statement said. Two Russian anti-submarine ships and four Indian ships were assisting in the operation.

Authorities “are taking steps to mitigate and manage the risk of possible oil spills in future due to this disaster,” the statement said.

De Silva said some of the New Diamond’s crew were rescued by oil product tanker Helen M.

In a statement, the vessel’s insurer, West of England, said: “We can confirm that these two vessels are entered in the West of England. The Club is liaising closely with our members and the relevant authorities and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

The second vessel referred to was the Gulf Livestock 1, sailing to China from New Zealand with 43 crew and nearly 6,000 cattle that sank off Japan.

Russia sent its anti-submarine ships to assist in the salvage, despite India pulling out of a multinational military exercise just days earlier.

The reason for the rejection wasn’t due to any issue with Russia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government simply said that it would not take part in the Kavkaz-2020 because Chinese and Pakistani troops are participating.

India-Pakistani tensions are strained due to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, while India-Chinese tensions recently flared due to the situation in the Ladakh region in the Himalayas.

The government has also taken into account the worsening global COVID-19 situation where India alone is witnessing over 70,000 positive cases daily to take a decision regarding participation in the wargames being held in the Astrakhan area of Southern Russia.

“A high-level meeting was held in South Block in which External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat were present. After the meeting, it was discussed that it would not be right to take part in the multilateral exercise where Chinese and Pakistani military personnel would also be present,” Indian defense sources claimed.

The Indian Defense Ministry issued a statement which read, “Russia and India are close and privileged strategic partners.  At Russia’s invitation, India has been participating in many international events.  However, in view of Pandemic and consequent difficulties in exercise, including arrangements of logistics, India has decided not to send a contingent this year to Kavkaz-2020. The same has been informed to the Russian side.”

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