A fire broke out following an explosion of a boiler in the main engine room of MT New Diamond, an oil tanker sailing 38 nautical miles off Sangamankanda Point east of Sri Lanka this morning.

The Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) was alerted to this and promptly dispatched a group of emergency relief serving ships to the location for relief assistance.

According to the distress signal received by the Maritime Rescue Coordinating Centre in Colombo, the distressed oil tanker in eastern seas has been manned by 23 crew members including 05 Greek and 18 Philippine nationals and is registered under the Panamanian Flag (IMO-9191424), the SLN said..

Further, the tanker was transporting 270,000 metric tons of crude oil from the port of Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Indian port of Paradip, when it faced with this unfortunate turn of events. It is also reported that 1700 metric tons of diesel required for the use of the tanker have been stored onboard.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Navy Ship (SLNS) Ranarisi reached the distressed vessel and embarked an SLN rescue team aboard the oil tanker before retrieving the third engineering officer of the ship. Subsequently, this Philippine national engineer with injuries was promptly brought ashore and he was afterwards rushed to the Kalmunai Hospital for treatment.

Three Greek and 16 Philippine crew members of the tanker in distress were rescued by another merchant vessel (MV Helen M) plying nearby and they are to be safely brought ashore by the Navy. Besides, the captain and another member on the fire-erupted tanker have been safely rescued by SLNS Sayura. However, one Philippine national of the crew has not been located since the time of this unfortunate occurrence.

The Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) released pictures of the Panama flagged ship on fire