Indian coast guard deploys additional ship, 2 aircraft to contain blaze on oil tanker off Sri Lankan coast

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NEW DELHI, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) -- Indian Coast Guard (ICG) Friday said it was deploying an additional ship and two aircraft to intensify firefighting operation on a chartered supertanker New Diamond that caught fire off the Sri Lankan coast.

According to the ICG spokesman, part of the blaze has been contained and firefighting operations were underway.

"Fire fighting is in progress in consultation with Master of New Diamond onboard ICG ship Shaurya along with Tug Winger. Additional ICG ship Ameya & Abheek being deployed today in PR configuration to augment efforts. Two Dornier aircraft also being deployed for air efforts," the ICG spokesman said.

The fire broke out in the oil tanker in the Indian Ocean east off Sri Lanka coast Thursday morning.

The ICG ships reached the spot Thursday evening.

"ICG ships successfully doused fire in accommodation area. ICG ship Shaurya continuously fighting fire with three tugs engaged in boundary cooling. Two meters crack observed near Port aft portion 10 meters above waterline," the spokesman said. "Shaurya and three tugs viz Ravana, Winger and Visabha fighting fire with continuous spray of water and foam. INS Sahyadri and two Sri Lankan Naval ships also in area."

The firefighting operation is being done in close association with Sri Lankan navy.

According to officials, of the 23 crew members on board, 22 have been rescued.

"Concerted joint search and rescue and firefighting efforts by ICG Ships, Sri Lankan navy and tugs resulted in rescue of 22 out of 23 crew safely. Search for one missing crew (Filipino) in progress," the ICG said.

So far no oil spill has been reported in area, the officials said.

Meanwhile, two emergency towing vessels have been deployed by the Indian government for the supertanker.

Photographs shared by ICG on its social media platform show inferno and thick smoke billowing out from the tanker. Enditem

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