Oil tanker catches fire off the east coast of Sri Lanka

TEHRAN, Sep. 03 (MNA) –Russian officials announced on Thursday that the country has dispatched ships to assist the New Diamond oil tanker, which is reportedly in flames.

Earlier in the day, a Sri Lankan navy spokesman said that the country had dispatched an aircraft and two navy ships to assist a fully loaded very large crude carrier (VLCC), the New Diamond that has caught fire off Sri Lanka's east coast, Sputnik News reported.

Crude carrier the New Diamond, chartered by India's state-run refiner Indian Oil Corp (IOC) was heading to the port of Paradip, where the company operates a 300,000 barrel-per-day refinery.

"The Sri Lanka air force has scrambled an observation aircraft and the navy has sent in two ships to help with rescue efforts," Commander Ranjith Rajapaksa told Reuters.

Sri Lanka's Marine Protection Authority has stated that it would take measures to prevent any possible oil leak from the tanker, which, according to local media, was carrying 270,000 tonnes or the equivalent of about 2 million barrels of oil.

The fire reportedly occurred at 7:45 am India time (2:15 GMT) in the engine-room of the vessel.

FA/PR

News Code 163069

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