PortandTerminal.com, September 15, 2020
The Indian Navy is reporting that all leaks on the hull of the fire-stricken VLCC New Diamond, currently situated off Sri Lanka have been sealed.
The tanker suffered a boiler explosion and a subsequent severe fire on September 3 that raged on and off for a number of days. One seafarer died in the accident.
This latest announcement comes on the back of a joint underwater inspection of the supertanker conducted by members of Sri Lanka Navy, the Indian Navy, and SMIT salvage team, employed by the ship manager.
The tanker is said to be stable and safe, approximately 60 miles off Sri Lanka’s coast. A tug named Boka Expedition has taken the VLCC under tow.
The destination of the vessel is yet to be determined. AFP reports that Sri Lanka has asked the ship’s owners to tow the crippled tanker away from the country’s exclusive economic zone, or 220 miles from its coast.
Arrangements will have to be made to have the equivalent of 2 million barrels of fuel that the VLCC is carrying safely offloaded. The ship itself is probably a write-off and will eventually be scrapped.
Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) plans to take legal action against the ship’s owner under the country’s laws to protect the marine ecosystem, Reuters reported. The crew of the ship has been interviewed by Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigation Department over the weekend, the findings of which have been sent to a judge who is presiding over the case.
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