Sept 10, Colombo: International experts and salvage teams have boarded the fire-stricken MT New Diamond oil tanker Thursday to inspect the ship and begin salvage operations, the Sri Lanka Navy said.
The Navy said a 17-member salvage team from the salvor company alongside four from Sri Lanka Navy this morning boarded MT New Diamond and they are currently doing inspections and disaster assessments.
The Navy said operations are being continuously conducted in rough sea conditions about 50 nautical miles (93km) off Kalmunai where the fire-stricken ship is currently located.
Sri Lanka Navy and other disaster management teams successfully doused the re-ignited fire triggered by adverse weather onboard MT New Diamond on 07th September.
After completely dousing the fire in the early hours of Wednesday, three members from the salvor team has boarded the fire-damaged ship for investigations before another six-man team of international experts got aboard in the same evening, for inspection, the Navy said.
Meanwhile, another tug sent by the company providing salvage services for MT New Diamond, has reached the site of the distressed vessel for ongoing missions at night on Wednesday.
Nine ships from Sri Lanka Navy, Indian Coast Guard and Indian Navy together with two Sri Lanka Coast Guard Ships and three Fast Attack Craft from 04th Fast Attack Flotilla, as replenishment vessels and six tugs deployed by other stakeholders are actively engaged in the operation further. In addition, aircraft of the Sri Lanka Air Force and a Dornier aircraft of the Indian Coast Guard are doing aerial reconnaissance intermittently.
In the meantime, a Y-12 aircraft of Sri Lanka Air Force detected a fuel slick about 10 to 30 meters wide and about a nautical mile long. Accordingly, a Dornier aircraft from the Indian Coast Guard was flown to the location to spray dispersants on the area where the slick was located. However, it is believed that this slick was not caused by a crude oil leak from the ship.
The preliminary investigations into the distressed ship have already been completed. Meanwhile, the ship’s engine and pump rooms have been flooded with sea water, stabling in trim by aft condition. Therefore, it is suspected that the fuel slick was caused by sludge oozed with flood water.
Further, efforts are being made to remove toxic gases and other vapors, generated by fire, from the engine room and other compartments of the ship, as of now, the Navy said.