Chennai, Sep 8 (IANS) The battle against the fire on the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) chartered oil tanker New Diamond off the Sri Lankan coast entered its sixth day on Tuesday.
The ships and tugs of Coast Guard and the Sri Lankan Navy are battling to put out the fire on the very large crude carrier (VLCC) laden with about 300,000 ton of Kuwait crude.
The Indian Coast Guard on Tuesday in a tweet said it is invoking South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) and the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) provisions.
A Coast Guard official told IANS there is a MoU which speaks about assistance to each during various contingencies. The SACEP also talks about coordinated effort of all South Asian countries in times of eventuality.
According to Coast Guard its ship Abheek reached Trincomalee harbour to hand over 1,500 kg dry chemical powder (DCP) to be used for dousing the fire on the oil tanker.
The Indian coastal security agency also said its Dornier aircraft from Chennai will carry 700 kg of DCP to Trincomalee.
The 20-year-old VLCC, sailing under the Panama flag, reported fire on-Board on September 3 when it was about 37 nautical miles off the coast in Sri Lankan Exclusive Economic Zone.
Later the burning tanker was towed away to prevent drifting to shallow waters.
The ‘New Diamond’ oil tanker departed from Mina Al Ahmadi, Kuwait on August 23 and was headed to India’s Paradip port.
The oil tanker was expected to reach Paradip in Odisha on September 5 where the IOC has a large refinery.
According to the Coast Guard, the vessel reported a major explosion in its engine room while it was on its way to Pradip.
The first information about the vessel fire was received at the Coast Guard Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Mumbai.
A Coast Guard official had earlier told IANS that the ship’s fuel is on fire.
The ship apparently had about 1,700 ton of fuel when it caught fire on September 3 morning.