The Indian Ocean is threatened by crude oil pollution again

  270,000 tons of crude oil, like a "super bomb", has once again faced the threat of oil spill pollution in the Indian Ocean.

  At 6 o'clock in the morning on September 3, the super-large tanker "New Diamond" operated by the Greek shipowner and registered in Panama suddenly issued an emergency call for help in the Gulf of Bengal waters and 40 nautical miles off the east coast of Sri Lanka, saying that the tanker caught fire.

  The "New Diamond" sailed from Kuwait, loaded with 270,000 tons of petroleum products from Kuwait and Iraq, to ​​Paradip Port in northeast India, to deliver raw materials to a local refinery with a crude oil production capacity of 300,000 barrels.

When the incident happened, the destination was already in sight.

  The "New Diamond" emergency call for help has made Sri Lanka, India, Maldives and other parties nervous.

  In the following 7 hours, the Sri Lanka Navy and Maritime Patrol Agency integrated the fleet to rescue.

During the period, the captain of the "New Diamond" once notified that the fire had been contained and no external assistance was needed.

  Unexpectedly, at about 1:30 pm on the 3rd, the fire suddenly intensified. The tanker was suspected to have an explosion in the cabin. It was thought that the extinguished fire was renewed. The fire directly burned through the superstructure and through the bridge.

When the tanker's power and control systems were destroyed, all crew members were forced to abandon the ship.

  There are 23 crew members on the "New Diamond", 5 Greeks and 18 Filipinos.

One of the Filipino crew members died in the engine room explosion.

  Participating in the rescue is the firefighting fleet of the Navy and Coast Guard urgently dispatched by the cargo owner India.

  In addition, the Russian Pacific Fleet operating in the Indian Ocean at that time also sent two destroyers to the scene to help.

However, after the arrival of the Russian warship, it was discovered that the rescue had been completed by other ships, and the fire-fighting equipment equipped by the Russian army was not enough to deal with the burning fire. The warship subsequently withdrew from the sea area where the incident occurred.

  The live video taken by the Sri Lankan Air Force showed that the tanker’s bridge had been severely damaged, and thick black smoke and flames emerged from the back of the cargo hold.

  According to reports from Sri Lanka and India, although the fire destroyed the superstructure of the tanker, the fire protection design of the tanker still played a blocking role. This prevented the oil storage tanks loaded with 270,000 tons of unrefined crude oil and 1,700 tons of diesel oil from catching fire.

  On the morning of the 4th, the hull fire continued, but the oil storage tank was still safe, and there was no oil leakage at sea.

  Despite this, the Marine Environmental Protection Agency of Sri Lanka is extremely nervous.

  On the one hand, in July in the Mauritius waters of the Indian Ocean, the tanker "Rakucho" chartered by the Japanese Mitsui Group hit the rocks. The vessel did not leak oil at the beginning. However, due to the damage of the cabin structure, the hull of the "Rakashio" broke down more than 10 days later. The spill of 1,000 tons of oil has severely polluted the coast of Mauritius and forced it into an "environmental emergency".

  The "New Diamond" was the second major tanker accident in the Indian Ocean in just two months, and its fuel capacity was 78 times that of the "Ruochao".

  On the other hand, after the accident, the tanker lost power. At first, the ship was about 38 nautical miles offshore. However, under the influence of wind and ocean currents, the tanker drifted more and more to the coastline of Sri Lanka. Recently, it was only about 21 nautical miles. Do not drag it to further deep sea areas.

  Whether the "New Diamond" will leak crude oil next is the key to the next step.

  An executive of a shipbroking company in Singapore said that such a leak could cause an "environmental disaster."

But it also said that so far, no double hull tanker has spilled oil.

  However, according to the firefighting progress report of the Indian Coast Guard, the maritime fire brigade cannot rule out the threat of loss of control caused by the smoldering of the ship.

The Indian Coast Guard stated that it had observed a crack about 10 meters from the waterline on the hull of the New Diamond.

  In response, Sri Lanka’s Marine Environmental Protection Agency Chairman Dashani Rahandapura warned that if the ship spilled oil, “not only the region, but even one of the biggest environmental disasters in the world”.

  Regarding Rahandapura’s concerns, Ahmed Nasim, Minister of the Office of the President of the Maldives, expressed support on social media. A large coral ecosystem in the country is about 1,000 kilometers away from Sri Lanka.

Nassim said: "Maldives must pay close attention to the oil spill and take all precautions to prevent it from reaching the coast."