Corporation Ltd (IOCL) has hired an old tanker to part transfer crude from the
fire-ravaged oil supertanker ‘New Diamond’ currently anchored at Kalba near
sources said that IOC doesn’t seem to have “learnt lessons” from the fire on
board the Greek-owned and Panama registered ‘New Diamond’ off the coast of Sri
Lanka in early September that claimed the life of one seafarer.
‘New Diamond’ was
carrying 2,70,000 metric tonnes or two million barrels of crude oil from Mina
Al Ahmadi port in Kuwait to the Indian port of Paradip when a boiler explosion
in its engine room caused a fire off the coast of Sangamankanda in Ampara
district of Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lanka Navy
with the help of Indian counterparts and Coast Guard doused the fire after
VLCC was declared a dead vessel after the fire
The very large
crude carrier (VLCC) was declared a dead vessel after the fire, and it
currently has no engine power and ship’s winches are not working. The tanker is
not capable of providing inert gas, and her cargo pumps are also not
The tanker was,
hence, towed to the Kalba anchorage from where the crude oil is being
transferred into two ships through a ship to ship (STS) lighterage operation
and transported to India.
Corporation floated tenders for hiring two Suezmax carriers, each capable of
carrying One million barrel of oil.
The first one
million barrel is being done by a 2005-built ship ‘Jag Lalit’ owned by the
Great Eastern Shipping Co Ltd.
“However, it is
surprising that the ship to ship (STS) lighterage operation for the other One
million has been awarded to another Indian company which is undertaking the
task on a 2000-built vessel which incidentally is of the same age as the ‘New
Diamond’,” a shipping industry source said.
complicated operation has been awarded by Indian Oil Corporation on the basis
of the lowest rate quoted on the tender without any weightage to the experience
of the company and that too on a 20-year old vessel,” the industry source said.
In relation to the
value of cargo stuck on board, the incremental cost of hiring a younger vessel
would be negligible, the source added.