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Rajapaksa thanks defense personnel for fighting fire onboard MT New Diamond

MT New Diamond, off the eastern coast of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean.   | Photo Credit: AP

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Saturday thanked Indian and Sri Lankan Naval personnel for their ongoing efforts in dousing the fire onboard oil tanker MT New Diamond. The vessel went ablaze off Sri Lanka’s east coast three days ago, following an engine room explosion.

“Thank you! to the #SLNavy , the #SLAirforce, the #SLPA and the Indian Defense Forces for their efforts in controlling the fires in MT New Diamond. I greatly appreciate your Contribution in conserving Marine biodiversity by preventing a disastrous situation out in the ocean,” he said in a tweet.

The vessel, classified as a very large crude carrier (VLCC), is about 330 metres long. Carrying 2,70,000 metric tonnes of crude oil, it was headed to a Odisha from Kuwait, officials said. Amid fears of a likely oil spill, at least nine vessels from the two countries, besides tugboats and aircraft, have been deployed into action.

“The flames are being contained and the vessel has been towed further way from our coast, at 40 nautical miles. So far, there is no oil spill,” Sri Lanka Navy spokesman Captain Indika de Silva told The Hindu.

One crew member died in the fire, while another was injured and is undergoing treatment. A total of 20 crew members have been safely rescued.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 5:34:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/rajapaksa-thanks-defense-personnel-for-fighting-fire-onboard-mt-new-diamond/article32531911.ece

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