ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has beefed up defences against a possible oil spill from the gutted container ship X-Press Pearl, which has partially sunk in the shallows off Colombo Port, and the owners said international experts have also been roped in.
Fisheries Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said a plan had been devised by the Marine Environmental Protection Authority to contain any possible oil spill.
From Dikkowita to Negombo Sri Lanka Air Force was conduction arial surveillance while the Navy and Coast Guard was doing coastal surveillance.
Sri Lanka Coast Guard, Navy Sri Lanka and Air Force were also doing foot patrols.
Booms and skimmers were readied to contain any slick in the deeper sea.
Sri Lanka Navy, Coast Guard, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals vessels and equipment being used.
Sri Lanka Coast Guard will also use a vessel with a spray arm to disperse oil.
As of June 02, no oil was visible and it was not clear whether any un-burnt oil remained on the ship, a Sri Lanka Navy spokesman said.
The stern of the ship ran aground in shallow waters while being towed.
The vessels “aft portion is sitting on the seabed at a depth of about 21 meters, and the forward section is settling down slowly,” the X-Press Feeders said.
“Salvors remain on scene supported by the Sri Lankan Navy and the Indian Coast Guard off the Port of Colombo.”
X-Press Feeders said Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL) and international firm had been appointed. X-Press Feeders had also engaged SMIT Salvage of the Netherlands for the overall salvage effort.
OSRL will liaise International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation, a non-profit body for advice.
“Both OSRL and ITOPF have people on the ground in Colombo coordinating with the Sri Lankan Navy on an established plan to deal with any possible spill of oil and other pollutants,” X-Press Feeders said.
Sri Lanka authorities have been collecting tonnes of plastic granules that have spilled from the ship that are continuing to wash on beaches. (Colombo/June03/2021)