Press Release

Related to the press release under the title ‘Fire breaks out on Panama-flagged New Diamond oil tanker’ issued on 05th September 2020 at 1130 hrs

The distressed vessel is now about 40 nautical miles (about 74 km) away from the shore and Sri Lanka Navy and other stakeholders continue to engage in firefighting and inflict cooling effect on fire-stricken oil tanker using fire extinguishing chemicals and water, at peak of their efficiency. Meanwhile, two (02) more Indian Coast Guard Ships - Ameya and Abheek joined this consolidated operation this afternoon.

In the morning hours of today the sea area where the distressed vessel is remaining was rough and there was an increase in the speed of the sea breeze. However the damage control operation still continued in such circumstances the whole day to bring the blaze under control. Considering this calamity as an urgent matter of national importance the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (5000 L), Hambantota International Port Group (4600 L), Colombo Dockyard Limited (1000 L), Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (2100 L), Indian Oil Corporation (3000 L) and Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Limited (2800 L) provided AFFF fire extinguishing chemicals to the Navy through the mediation of Marine Environment Protection Authority.

Meanwhile, at the intervention of the owner of the ship 10 British and Netherlands experts including rescue operation specialists, damage control evaluators and legal consultants will be arriving at the Mattala International Airport tomorrow morning. This team of experts is scheduled to be transferred by SLN Fast Attack Craft from Kalmunei to the sea area where the distressed vessel is currently at.

Apart from the missing seaman who is believed to be dead, the one undergoing treatment at hospital and distressed ship’s captain rest of crew (20) is currently safe onboard Sri Lanka Navy ships in isolation and arrangements will be made for them to be reunited with their families by telephone tomorrow.

In the meantime, 03 capital ships and 03 Fast Attack Craft of Sri Lanka Navy, 02 ships belonging to the Sri Lanka Coast Guard, 05 ships of Indian Coast Guard, 01 ship belonging to the Indian Navy, 02 tugs of Hambantota International Port Group - Wasaba and Rawana, the ALP Winger tug and the TTT One tug with firefighting equipment and professionals are being engaged in the firefighting efforts as of now. Apart from that, the MI 17 helicopter and the Beach Craft of the Sri Lanka Air Force also rendered assistance to this combined damage control efforts in the daytime.

As of this morning, two (02) Dornier aircraft belonging to the Indian Coast Guard had been stationed at the Mattala Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport for emergency use. One of them left for India again after observing the current condition of the ship and disseminating information to the operation’s crew. Furthermore, the other Dornier is still engaged in surveillance in the area.

The Sri Lanka Navy and damage control operations teams have successfully controlled the spread of the fire on the ship and there is no danger of the ship leaking oil into the sea.