Two more rescued from blazing ship; 2 Russian warships to join rescue efforts

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Sri Lanka Navy has rescued three crew members aboard the crude oil tanker ‘MT New Diamond’ currently ablaze off the Sangamon Kanda coast, including its Captain.

They are currently being brought ashore, stated Navy Spokesperson Captain Indika de Silva.

Reportedly, among the rescued crew members, the third engineer of the ship has sustained critical injuries. Preparations have been made to admit him to a hospital in the Eastern Province.

An oil tanker chartered by Indian Oil Corp (IOC), registered in Panama, caught fire 38 nautical miles off Sangamon Kanda coast. The fire has occurred in the engine room of the ship; however, the fire has no spread to the area where the oil is stored, stated the Navy.

Nineteen of the crew members – Greek and Philippine nationals – had been rescued earlier by a passing merchant vessel.

Three vessels of the Sri Lanka Navy, and B-200 Beach Craft and an M-17 helicopter of the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) were deployed to help in the rescue effort.

According to SLAF Media Spokesman Group Captain Dushan Wijesinghe, the two aircrafts have already returned to the island.

Meanwhile, 02 Russian warships docked at the Hambantota Port is to join the Sri Lanka Navy in the rescue operations.

The fully loaded New Diamond, a very large crude carrier (VLCC), was heading to the port of Paradip in India where state-run IOC operates a 300,000 barrel-per-day refinery.

It had sailed from Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait, Refinitiv Eikon ship tracking data showed.

Marine Protection Authority said steps will be taken to prevent any possible oil leak from the tanker which is carrying 270,000 tonnes of oil.