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Fire on oil tanker off Sri Lanka is 'under control,' navy says

Smoke rising after a fire broke out on a Panama-registered oil tanker about 38 nautical miles (70 kilometers) east of Sri Lanka.   -  
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Sri Lankan Air Force via AP

Sri Lanka

The fire on a large oil tanker off Sri Lanka's coast has been brought under control but is still not extinguished, the navy said on Saturday.

Sri Lankan officials have warned of possible massive environmental damage to Sri Lanka if the ship leaks or explodes.

Rescue workers from Sri Lanka and India have been battling the fire aboard the MT New Diamond since Thursday.

The tanker, carrying nearly 2 million barrels of crude oil, was drifting about 20 nautical miles (37 kilometres) from Sri Lanka's eastern coast. 

A tug boat towed it to the deep sea away from land.

The fire killed one of the crew and injured another. The tanker had 23 crew members - 18 Filipinos and five Greeks. Twenty-one crew left the tanker uninjured.

The fire began in an engine room boiler but had not spread to the tanker’s oil storage area and no leak has been reported, the navy said.

It was transporting crude oil from the port of Mina Al Ahmadi in Kuwait to the Indian port of Paradip.

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