Several cracks have been observed in the hull of the Panama-registered crude oil tanker, which caught on fire on Thursday (03) due to an explosion in the main engine room, says the Marine Environment Protection Authority.
According to the Indian Coast Guard, the stability of the ship has been affected by the fire that engulfed the vessel, the General Manager of Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) Dr. Terney Pradeep Kumara said in a statement.
“Therefore, we speculate that an oil explosion could occur at any time,” he stated.
Dr. Pradeep Kumara noted that the oil tanker has drifted 12 nautical miles closer to the shore since last evening and is now located 25 nautical miles away from the Sangamankanda Point. He added that the vessel is expected to drift much closer the shore overtime.
If the oil tanker explodes, Kalkudah, Pasikuda and Arugambay areas can be affected by an oil spill, Dr. Pradeep Kumada explained. However, if the oil spill advances towards the north, Wakarei and the Pigeon Island in Trincomalee can be affected. Further, the sea area up to Kirinda can be impacted if the oil spill moves southwards.
“We are taking every possible measure to face such a turn of events,” he stressed.