CHENNAI: The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on Thursday (September 3, 2020) rushed three vessels to the Central-eastern Sri Lankan coast to help fight a massive fire onboard MT New Diamond, a Panama-flagged oil tanker. 

Through a tweet, the Indian Coast Guard said, “The Indian Coast Guard in a swift Sea & Air Coordinated #SAR operation immediately diverted #ICG Ships Shaurya, Sarang, Samudra Paheredar & Dornier Aircraft for #FireFighting on Oil Tanker #MTNewDiamond @DefenceMinIndia @MEAIndia.”

Another tweet from the ICG said, “#SavingLives #SAR #FireFighting assistance sought by Sri Lanka Navy from @IndiaCoastGuard  for fire and explosion onboard Oil Tanker #MTNewDiamond 37 NM east off #Srilanka coast. #ICG ships and aircraft deployed for immediate assistance @DefenceMinIndia.”

The fire-engulfed oil-tanker is located about 36 nautical miles from the Sri Lankan coast. 

The oil tanker was bound for Paradip, Odisha on India’s eastern coast from Kuwait. Out of the 23 crew members onboard the oil tanker, 19 have been safely rescued. 

However, one crew member is reported to be injured, another missing, while the captain is onboard with another crew member.  

The Indian Coast Guard, also known as Sentinels of the Sea, has mobilized vessels – Shaurya, Sarang and Samudra ‘pehredar’ to assist in fighting the fire. Besides the Coast Guard vessels, a Dornier aircraft has also been deployed for the operation. 

One Indian vessel is expected to reach the site by evening.

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