One missing following explosion, fire on VLCC in Bay of Bengal

The burning superstructure of the very large crude carrier New Diamond on September 4, 2020, one day following a fatal explosion in its engine room while underway off Sri Lanka (Photo: Indian Coast Guard)

The Indian Coast Guard and partner agencies are continuing to respond to an incident wherein an explosion and a subsequent fire had occurred on board an oil tanker transiting the Bay of Bengal 37 kilometres off the coast of Sri Lanka on Thursday, September 3.

Three Indian Coast Guard ships, two Russian Navy anti-submarine ships, and some Good Samaritan civilian vessels have arrived at the scene to render assistance to the crew of the Panamanian-flagged very large crude carrier (VLCC) New Diamond.

The Indian Coast Guard posted on its official Facebook page that firefighting operations were still ongoing as of 06:00 UTC on Friday, September 4, and that a hull breach estimated to be two metres long was seen near the ship’s stern 10 metres above the waterline.

An Indian Navy official said that 23 of New Diamond‘s crew have been rescued with one of them suffering minor injuries. However, rescuers are still searching for one crewmember, a Filipino national, who has gone missing.

The tanker was en route from Kuwait to India’s Port of Paradip with approximately two million barrels of oil when the explosion occurred.

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