Oil tanker fire doused, ship stability within safe zone

By Sarkaritel September 10, 2020 07:52

Chennai, Sep 10  The Indian Coast Guard on Wednesday said no more flames or smoke was observed since Tuesday evening on very large crude carrier (VLCC) ‘New Diamond’ that caught fire on September 3.

The salvage team, which boarded the vessel on Wednesday, has intimated that there are no hotspots, flames/smoke onboard and there is no breach of its storage tanks, and the oil slick seen was from its own fuel tanks.

A naval architect in the salvage team has confirmed that the ship’s stability is within the safe zone, the Coast Guard said.

The oil tanker, carrying about 300,000 tonnes of crude, caught fire on September 3 after an explosion in its engine room, 37 nautical miles off Sri Lankan coast.

According to Coast Guard the sustained fire fighting by its and Sri Lankan ships and tugs resulted in dousing of fire on Tuesday.

No significant list is observed on the vessel while it continues to be trimmed by aft (rear side of the ship dipping down into water) by about one metre.

“Efforts are on to get the ship on an even keel with the assistance of the salvors,” the Coast Guard said.

As regards the oil sheen that was seen on the tanker’s rear side, the Coast Guard said it was part of the unburnt oil/oil mixed with water, in the ship’s engine room, which escaped during the explosion onboard on September 7.

The Coast Guard’s Dornier aircraft was pressed into service in pollution response configuration to spray oil spill dispersant (OSD) to disintegrate the sheet on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Ships were used to churn the waters to accelerate the disintegration of the oil sheen.

The Indian coastal security agency also said owing to the continued fire, the accommodation superstructure has weakened while no significant list of the vessel was observed.

The 20-year-old VLCC New Diamond, sailing under the Panama flag, departed from Kuwait’s Mina Al Ahmadi on August 23 and was headed to India’s Paradip port, which it was expected to reach on September 5.

According to the Coast Guard, the vessel reported a major explosion in its engine room while it was on its way to the port in Odisha.

The first information about the vessel fire was received at the Coast Guard Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Mumbai.

A Coast Guard official had earlier told IANS that the ship’s fuel was on fire.

The ship apparently had about 1,700 tonnes of fuel when it caught fire.

By Sarkaritel September 10, 2020 07:52