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 1930 hrs

The Sri Lanka Navy and other stakeholders continue to use extinguishing agents and water to augment firefighting and inflict boundary cooling on the ill-fated oil tanker, in full swing. This operation is carried out in safe waters 40 nautical miles (about 74 km) away from land and it was joined by the tug 'Ocean Bliss' at midnight on 05th September 2020.

During the night of 05th September 2020, despite some rough seas and strong winds the damage control operation continued. Meanwhile, arrangements have been made to continue the operation to mitigate the outcomes of this disaster, through coordinated effort.

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 damage control to MT New Diamond to commence the salvage operation. The TTT One, 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. Furthermore, SMIT Singapore Pte Ltd has taken steps to inform the Sri Lanka Navy about the persons and goods being brought in and the Sri Lanka Navy is ready to assist in this regard.

Further, 10 British and Netherlands professionals with expertise in rescue operations, damage evaluation and legal consultation will be arriving in the island this morning and are expected to make recommendations as to how future events to be planned, upon inspection of the damage control work of the MT New Diamond. Apart from that a team headed by the Chief Firefighting Officer of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority is scheduled to visit the distressed oil tanker today (06th September 2020).

For the first time since the accident, the Navy will provide the opportunity to the 20 crew members who were rescued from the distressed vessel and now safely onboard SLNS Sindurala to connect with their near and dear ones by telephone.

In the meantime, 03 capital ships of Sri Lanka Navy, 05 ships of Indian Coast Guard, 01 ship belonging to the Indian Navy, 02 tugs of Hambantota International Port Group - Wasaba and Rawana, the Tug ALP Winger , the Tug TTT One with firefighting equipment and professionals and the Tug Ocean Bliss are engaged in the firefighting efforts as of now. In addition, three (03) Sri Lanka Navy FACs and two (02) ships belonging to the Sri Lanka Coast Guard have been deployed as supply vessels for the operation.

Moreover, a Dornier aircraft of the Indian Coast Guard is scheduled to take off from the Mattala Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport today and monitor the sea area where the distressed oil tanker is currently placed.

The joint damage control operation, which is being carried out on the instruction of experts, has so far successfully contained the spread of the ship's fire and there is no report of the ship leaking oil into the sea.