India sent three special Indian Coast Guard ships and an aircraft to assist Sri Lanka to douse a massive fire on a container ship off the island country’s coast amid mounting fears of major oil leakage.
Indian Coast Guard ships Vaibhav and Vajra braved all odds of the adverse weather and doused the blaze, whereas ICG ship Samudra Prahari, a specialised Pollution Response (PR) vessel has also been deployed to increase the firefighting efforts and immediately respond to oil spill if it occurs.
ICG Dornier undertook air reconnaissance of the area for assessment and support. No oil spill has been reported so far, the Indian Navy said in a statement.
“The extreme fire, damage to containers, and prevailing inclement weather has caused the vessel to tilt to one side resulting in the falling of containers overboard. Concerted joint efforts are in progress by two ICG Ships and four tugs of Sri Lankan authorities to douse the fire,” the Indian Coast Guard’s statement read, adding that ICG formations at Kochi, Chennai, and Tuticorin are on standby for immediate assistance towards Pollution Response.
The vessel was carrying nearly 1,500 containers, including 25 tons of nitric acid, when a fire broke out as it waited to enter Columbo port. It is believed that the fire broke out by a leak of nitric acid on the 186 meters long ship and monsoon winds fanned the flames causing it to spread further.