Sri Lanka spots oil slick from fire-stricken supertanker

By Waruna Karunatilake COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's navy said on Tuesday that an oil slick had been spotted a kilometre from a loaded supertanker off the country's east coast, as efforts to extinguish a fire on board continued. Sri Lankan officials are working to assess any damage to the environment and marine life from the incident, which began on Sept

Reuters September 09, 2020 01:05:41 IST
Sri Lanka spots oil slick from fire-stricken supertanker

Sri Lanka spots oil slick from firestricken supertanker

By Waruna Karunatilake

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's navy said on Tuesday that an oil slick had been spotted a kilometre from a loaded supertanker off the country's east coast, as efforts to extinguish a fire on board continued.

Sri Lankan officials are working to assess any damage to the environment and marine life from the incident, which began on Sept. 3, when a fire initially broke out in the engine room of the New Diamond supertanker.

The first fire aboard the ship, which was chartered by Indian Oil Corp to import some 2 million barrels of oil from Kuwait, was put out, but a second one broke out on Monday.

"The ship has tilted slightly towards where the fire broke out due to the large amount of water sprayed to douse the fire," Sri Lanka Navy's spokesman Indika de Silva told Reuters, adding: "Oil in the engine room appears to have leaked out to the sea".

The New Diamond was being held some 40 kilometres (25 miles) east of Sri Lanka, while firefighting boats sprayed it with water, de Silva added.

An Indian Air Force plane stationed at the international airport in Hambantota had also dropped a specialized chemical mixture on the slick to control it, the Sri Lankan navy said in a statement.

The latest fire was on the right side of the vessel near the funnel and was not near the tanks holding the crude oil, Silva said earlier, adding it was still burning.

A salvage team was working at the site and "additional assets, salvage personnel and fire fighting equipment" were on the way, he said.

Sri Lanka has deployed scientists and experts from its Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA), with one team examining the area around the ship and another coastal areas for signs of pollution, Jagath Gunesekara, deputy General Manager of MEPA, said.

(Additional reporting by Arjuna Ranawana; Writing by Nidhi Verma and Zeba Siddiqui; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Alexander Smith)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.