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Bunker spill detected from burnt VLCC off Sri Lanka

Adam Polemis’s New Shipping and his recently selected P&I Club are facing a sizeable bill for the ongoing operation to avert an ecological disaster in the Indian Ocean off Sri Lanka.

The laden New Diamond VLCC suffered a boiler explosion in its engine room on Thursday, killing one seafarer and starting a sizeable fire that was brought under control temporarily on Sunday. Fanned by high winds, the fire restarted on the starboard part of the accommodation block on Monday, finally put out this morning with the aid of the Sri Lankan and Indian militaries, the ship’s superstructure now a lurid orange colour.

A kilometre long slick of bunker fuel has now been detected from the aft of the stricken vessel.

The 20-year-old ship’s P&I cover switched last month from the UK P&I Club to the West of England. The Panamanian-flagged ship is understood to be carrying around 1,700 tonnes of bunker fuel at the time of its accident off Sri Lanka.

The tanker was transporting 270,000 tonnes of crude oil from the port of Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Indian port of Paradip, where the state-owned Indian Oil Corp has a refinery.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


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