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Sri Lanka navy says no real risk of spill on stricken supertanker

September 09/2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- There is no real risk of a spill from a fully loaded supertanker that caught fire off the east coast of Sri Lanka, reported Reuters with reference to a senior official in the Indian Ocean nation's navy.

The fire that broke out in the engine room of the New Diamond on Thursday morning had spread to the bridge of the ship, carrying about 2 million barrels of oil, though it has not reached the cargo area, the Sri Lankan navy said.

Director-General of Operations Rear-Admiral Y N Jayarathna told reporters it was the navys view that there was no real danger of a spill, because the fire on the ship has been contained in the rear section of the vessel.

"The live flames have now died down and there is only white smoke emanating from the vessel," he told a televised press conference.

A navy spokesman, Captain Indika de Silva, said there were 23 crew members on board, one of whom is presumed dead. The rest have been taken off the ship by the Sri Lankan navy, with one injured crew member flown to the capital Colombo for treatment.

Three tug boats, five Sri Lankan navy ships as well as two craft from the Russian navy and three from the Indian navy have been assisting in an operation to fight the fire and tow the ship away from the coast, after it began drifting towards land.

At present, the vessel is being held by the salvage team in deep sea 35 kms (21.7 miles) east of the Sri Lankan town of Pottuvil, de Silva said.

Initially, the ship was stranded 38 kms (24 miles) east of the town of Thirukovil, but drifted within 25 kms of the coast after being abandoned. Authorities were now towing it eastward, away from the coast, de Silva said.

Thirukovil is a town in Sri Lanka's Ampara district that was badly battered by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Arugam Bay, a world-renowned surfing spot, is nearby.

"The missing Filipino sailor is presumed dead. He was badly injured when a boiler exploded," de Silva told Reuters, citing crew who were rescued.

"There were five Greek and 18 Philippine nationals among the crew. One of them was injured and he was airlifted out of the ship and the rest were accounted for."

Sri Lanka's meteorology department had already modeled the impact of 70,000 tons of crude oil - a quarter of the ship's cargo - spilling into the ocean.

The simulation, a worst case scenario according to authorities, found that such a spill would not immediately threaten the country's east coast.

But Dharshani Lahandapura, chair of Sri Lanka's federal Marine Environment Protection Authority, told Reuters that any spill from the ship would be catastrophic for marine life.

"It will be a huge environmental and economic disaster if this happens," she said.

The 1989 oil spill from the Exxon Valdez, considered one of the worst human-caused environmental disasters, spewed about 37,000 tons of crude into waters off Alaska.

The 20-year old New Diamond, chartered by Indian Oil Corp (IOC), had sailed from the port of Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait, loaded with Kuwait Export Crude, Refinitiv Eikon tracking data showed. It was heading for the Indian port of Paradip, where state-run IOC has a 300,000 barrel-per-day refinery.

As MRC informed previously, Indian Oil Corp, the countrys top refiner, is close to winning its first contract to export up to 720,000 tons of clean products to Mauritius under an annual deal from November.

We remind that Indian Oil says it will build an integrated paraxylene (PX) and purified terephthalic acid (PTA) facility at Paradip in Odisha State, India, at an estimated investment of 138 billion Indian rupees (USD1.84 billion). The project will be completed by early 2024, with the complex planned to produce 800,000 metric tons/year of PX and 1.2 million metric tons/year of PTA, it says.

PTA is used to produce polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is used in the manufacturing of plastic bottles, films, packaging containers, in the textile and food industries.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PET consumption totalled 367,720 tonnes in the first six months of 2020, up by 19% year on year. Russian companies processed 62,910 tonnes of material in June.


mrcplast.com
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:crude and gaz condensate, paraxylene (PX), PET-granulate, terephthalic acid, petrochemistry, packaging, Exxon Mobil, Indian Oil Corp, India, Russia, Sri Lanka.
Category:General News
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