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UPDATE 1-Sri Lanka spots oil slick from fire-stricken supertanker

Tue 8th September, 2020 7:07pm
(Recasts with details on oil spill)
    By Waruna Karunatilake
    COLOMBO, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's navy said on Tuesday
that an oil slick had been spotted a kilometre from a loaded
supertanker off the country's east coast, as efforts to
extinguish a fire on board continued.
    Sri Lankan officials are working to assess any damage to the
environment and marine life from the incident, which began on
Sept. 3, when a fire initially broke out in the engine room of
the New Diamond supertanker.*:nD8N2DW00W
    The first fire aboard the ship, which was chartered by
Indian Oil Corp to import some 2 million barrels of oil from
Kuwait, was put out, but a second one broke out on Monday.*:nL4N2G01O2*:nL8N2G309J 
    "The ship has tilted slightly towards where the fire broke
out due to the large amount of water sprayed to douse the fire,"
Sri Lanka Navy's spokesman Indika de Silva told Reuters, adding:
"Oil in the engine room appears to have leaked out to the sea".
    The New Diamond was being held some 40 kilometres (25 miles)
east of Sri Lanka, while firefighting boats sprayed it with
water, de Silva added.
    An Indian Air Force plane stationed at the international
airport in Hambantota had also dropped a specialized chemical
mixture on the slick to control it, the Sri Lankan navy said in
a statement.
    The latest fire was on the right side of the vessel near the
funnel and was not near the tanks holding the crude oil, Silva
said earlier, adding it was still burning.*:nL4N2G42RZ 
    A salvage team was working at the site and "additional
assets, salvage personnel and fire fighting equipment" were on
the way, he said. 
    Sri Lanka has deployed scientists and experts from its
Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA), with one team
examining the area around the ship and another coastal areas for
signs of pollution, Jagath Gunesekara, deputy General Manager of
MEPA, said. 

 (Additional reporting by Arjuna Ranawana; Writing by Nidhi
Verma and Zeba Siddiqui; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and
Alexander Smith)
 ((; +91 11 49548031; Reuters
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