ECONOMYNEXT – Charred debris from the blazing container ship X-Press Pearl have washed up on Sri Lanka’s shores on as firefighting and pollution control ships from India joined Sri Lanka and owner-chartered vessels in containing the fire and an oil spill.
“The Navy, CoastGuard, #MEPA, Dept Of #Fisheries, #NARA, #Indian Coast Guard and other authorities are working to contain the oil by deploying #oil containment booms around the vessel and around the Negambo lagoon,” Sri Lanka’s State Minister for Fisheries Kanchana Wijesekera said in a twitter.com message on May 26.
“People are urged not to visit the beach from Colombo to Negambo.”
The Chairperson of Sri Lanka’s Maritime Environmental Protection Authority Dharshani Lahandapura said on May 25 that chemical dispersants and oil collecting booms were readied to contain fuel spilled from the ship.
“We are fighting the fire but we are preparing for the worst,” she said on May 25.
Sri Lanka’s Navy said on May 25 that the stricken vessel was listing to starboard and spilling containers into the sea.
“Debris and cargo that were on board the Container Vessel #XPressPearl have been spotted along the beach in the “Kapungoda ,Seththapaduwa” area in #Negambo by local #fishermen,” Minister Wijesekera said.
“A cargo container has also been spotted at around 4am in the same area. The fire continues.”
Pictures of a twisted and burnt container that had washed ashore along with other pictures were posted on social media.
#Debris and cargo that were on board the #Container Vessel #XPressPearl have been spotted along the beach in the “Kapungoda ,Seththapaduwa” area in #Negambo by local #fishermen. A cargo container has also been spotted at around 4am in the same area. The fire continues. pic.twitter.com/IQlzrC9acq
— Kanchana Wijesekera (@kanchana_wij) May 26, 2021
India which dispatched a task force of Indian Coast Guard (ICG) vessels and a maritime reconnaissance aircraft at Sri Lanka’s request said they were on the job.
“Operation underway in full force!,” Sri Lanka’s embassy in Colombo said in a message.
ICG Vajra also joined the combined operation along with ICG Vaibhav and Dornier aircraft which testifies to the camraderie between the Navies and Coast Guards of India and SriLanka.”
Sri Lanka Ports Authority had also deployed a firefighting tug and the vessels owners X-press Feeders had also chartered fire fighting tugs including the 4,400DWT Posh Teal.
Ships carry bunkers, which are types of furnace oil to power their engines. Initial preparations were made to contain a spill of around 100 tonnes.
She had warned however that the anything spilled from the ship will reach the shore quickly since the ship was close to the shore. (Colombo/May26/2021)