(Eds: Recasts intro, adds details) Chennai, Sep 4 (PTI) The Indian Coast Guard on Friday said two explosions were heard near the seat of fire in a crude-laden ship bound for India, after it burst into flames onThursday off the eastern coast of Sri Lanka, as it pressed its various assets for fire fighting activities.
A two metre crack was also noticed in the ship, but there has been no oil spill in the area so far, it said, even as it deployed ships and aircraft to handle any oil spill situation.
An oil tanker carrying crude from Kuwait to India burst into flames off the eastern coast of Sri Lanka on Thursday, leaving one of its 24 crew members missing and another injured.
The Panama registered tanker New Diamond was carrying 2,70,000 tonnes of crude oil from Kuwait to India when its engine room caught fire off the coast of Sangamankanda in the eastern district of Ampara.
'Two explosions were heard near the seat of fire during the wee hours on September 4.A two metre crack has been observed from the weather deck, approximately 10 metres above the waterline on the port quarter deck.
In the joint efforts ICG ship has successfully smothered the massive fire in the accommodation area and the exhaust funnel of the vessel. Fire is presently noticed near Port RU fuel oil tank area,' a Defence release here said.
In continuation to the ongoing Search & Rescue (SAR) and fire fighting operation, Indian Coast Guard ship Shaurya is coordinating with master of MT New Diamond on board.
Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has deployed its ships and Aircraft for Search and Rescue (SAR) and fire fighting mission, approximately 37 Nautical Miles east of Tirrukkovil (South East Sri Lankan Coast).
'In a joint effort, the 22 crew of the ill fated ship have been evacuated. ICG has diverted its ships Shaurya and Sarang on patrol for fire fighting and other assistance for the distressed vessel,' it said.
ICGS Sujay with helo and divers has also been dispatched from Chennai.
Further, its Pollution Response Vessel Samudra Paheradar has sailed out of Vishakapatnam for oil spill response.
'CG Dornier has been deployed from Chennai for aerial recce. ICG formations have been alerted for immediate assistance towards pollution response. ICG is in constant communication and maintaining coordination with Sri Lankan authorities for the operation,' it added.
Two Sri Lankan tugs Ravana and Vishaba, along with ALP Winger, were assisting in fire fighting with spray of water and foam and undertaking boundary wall cooling around the main crude oil tanks.
Further, two Sri Lankan Naval Ships andINS Sahyadri are also in the area.
Continuous aerial reccee was being done by ICG Dornier Aircraft and Sri Lankan Airforce Beachcraft.
'Concerted joint efforts by ICG ships, Sri Lanka Navy and tugs also resulted in rescue of 22 out of the 23 crew safely.
Search is in progress for one missing crew from the Philippines. Nil oil spill is reported in area,' it said.
Further, two Coast Guard Fast Patrol Ships, Ameya and Abheek have been deployed from Karaikal and Chennai with 1000 litres of Oil Spill Dispersant (OSD), Dry Chemical Powder (DCP) and AFFF liquid to augment pollution response efforts.
Two emergency towing vessels are being deployed by the Government of India for augmenting towing assistance, it said.
ICG Pollution Response Teams and vessels have been kept on stand by with embarkation plan of equipment at short notice.
Further, two Dornier aircraft with Oil Spill Dispersants and Pollution Response Spray pods departed from Chennai to Mattalla (Hambantota) on Friday in pollution response configuration for aerial assessment of the vessel and tackle oil spill, if any, the release said.
'Continuous liaison and co-ordination is being maintained with Sri LankaCoast Guard and other authorities for expeditious augmentation of response to fight and contain the fire onboard MT New Diamond,' it said. PTI SA APR RAVINDRANATH APR RAVINDRANATH