An oil tanker chartered by Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has caught fire off the east coast of Sri Lanka where an aircraft and two navy ships have been deployed to help in the rescue effort, navy representative Commander Ranjith Rajapaksa and sources said on Thursday. The fully loaded New Diamond, a very large crude carrier (VLCC), was heading to the port of Paradip in India where state-run IOC operates a 300,000 barrel-per-day refinery.
It had sailed from Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait, Refinitiv Eikon ship tracking data showed. Rajapaksa said the VLCC is ablaze about 20 nautical miles off the east coast of Sri Lanka. Sources had earlier said that the fire-hit vessel was off Colombo.
"The Sri Lanka air force have scrambled an observation aircraft and the navy have sent in two ships to help with rescue efforts," Rajapaksa told Reuters. Sri Lanka's Marine Protection Authority said steps will be taken to prevent any possible oil leak from the tanker which is carrying 270,000 tonnes of oil, local media reported.
No immediate comment was available from IOC or Kuwait Petroleum Corp.