The authorities of the oil tanker that went up in flames off Sri Lanka’s eastern waters seemed to have neglected warnings from the crew on possible fire on board, a Sri Lankan court has heard. The Panama registered MT (Motor Tanker) New Diamond, a Greek-owned vessel and under charter by the Indian Oil Corporation, was carrying nearly two million barrels of crude oil from Mina Al Ahmadi port in Kuwait to the Indian port of Paradip when it caught fire off the coast of Sangamankanda in Ampara district on Thursday last. A Filipino crew member died and another was injured in the mishap.
The fire was doused in a joint operation of the Indian and Sri Lankan forces on Sunday last. But a new fire broke out within hours due to extreme heat and strong winds. After the second fire was brought under control on Wednesday, the tanker was towed away from the site.
According to the Lankan Navy a narrow diesel patch, one km from the ship, was noticed on Monday evening and an Indian Coast Guard aircraft sprayed dispersants to minimise potential damage to the marine environment.