Colombo: An oil tanker carrying crude from Kuwait to India caught fire off the eastern coast of Sri Lanka, leaving one of its 23 crew members missing and another injured, according to media reports on Thursday. Also Read - Lankan Navy, Indian Ships Battling Re-ignited Fire on Board Oil Tanker
The Indian Coast Guard pressed into action three of its ships and a Dornier aircraft after the Sri Lankan Navy sought assistance to control the fire onboard the Panamanian-registered oil tanker New Diamond. Also Read - Experts Join Indian Coast Guard to Control Oil Spill From Tanker on Sri Lanka Waters; Fire Brought Under Control
According to media reports, the fire started in the engine room of the oil tanker, which was carrying crude oil from Kuwait to India, and then spread. Also Read - Elephant Living in Chains for 30 Years in a Pakistani Zoo Set to be Free, Finds New Home In Cambodian Sanctuary
In a swift sea and air coordinated Search and Rescue (SAR) operation, the Coast Guard said it immediately diverted ICG Ships Shaurya, Sarang and Samudra Paheredar, besides a Dornier aircraft for the firefight on oil tanker New Diamond.
Two Russian anti-submarine warfare ships anchored at Hambantota Port also joined the operation by the Sri Lanka Navy to douse the fire, the Daily Mirror reported.
The tanker New Diamond was sailing from Kuwait to India. It is currently staying 180 miles off the coast of Sri Lanka.
The team, except for two crew members, has left the tanker and is staying on rescue craft at sea, according to Russia’s official Tass news agency.
At the time the fire broke out, the Panamanian-registered ship was about 38 nautical miles (70 kilometres) east of Sri Lanka.