Ships and aircraft from Sri Lanka and India intensified efforts to extinguish an oil tanker fire burning for a second day, Friday, September 4, as officials warned of possible massive environmental damage to Sri Lanka’s coast if the ship leaks or explodes.
READ MORE: A fire broke out on a large oil tanker off the eastern coast of Sri Lanka on Thursday, leaving one of its 23 crew members missing and another injured, a navy spokesman said. Both were identified as Filipinos.
The fire started in a boiler in the engine room and then spread in the MT New Diamond, which was carrying 270,000 metric tons of crude oil from the port of Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Indian port of Paradip, spokesman Capt. Indika Silva said.
The navy sent four ships to help the ship. By the time they arrived, 19 of the crew members had left on lifeboats and were picked up by the ships, Silva said.
As the navy ships tried to put out the fire, the captain and two others abandoned the tanker, he said. The remaining crew member, a Filipino, was missing. The crew was made up of 18 Philippines and five Greek citizens.