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Salvors struggle to patch bunker leak on stricken VLCC off Sri Lanka

Salvors are still trying to patch a leak in one of the bunker compartments of the burnt New Diamond VLCC. The New Shipping tanker suffered a boiler explosion in its engine room and caught fire off Sri Lanka on September 3.

The blaze was severe and ran on and off for many days. Two distinct bunker trails have been detected from the 20-year-old ship’s aft in recent days.

“Salvage operations are continuing. The engine room has been de-smoked. They have identified the bunker oil tank that is leaking. The next step is to empty it and then to repair the leak,” Sri Lankan Navy spokesman Indika de Silva said on Friday.

The cargo of 270,000 tonnes of crude oil remains intact.

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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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