ECNOMYNEXT – State-run Sri Lanka Ports Authority said the MV X-Press Pearl which caught fire came to China-run Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT) and the port rendered all possible assistance to the distressed vessel when made aware of the fire.
It is customary among seafarers in particular to give whatever possible help to distressed vessels at sea.
No prior notice was given of an acid leak, the SLPA said.
SLPA said the following sequence of events took place.
*The crew on board the vessel through radio on 19th the May 2021, had informed the SLPA controls that the vessel would arrive the waters of the Port of Colombo on mid-night and that she would call at the port control area during early dawn.
*As the berth was not ready at that time, the vessel was permitted to remain anchored in the harbor waters, as is usually the process during container operations.
*At that time SLPA had not been informed of any specific event or occurrence verbally or in writing by the vessel.
*The vessel was scheduled to be called at the Port after 23 hours. The Harbor Master only then received an email from the ship’s agent requesting permission to unload and reassemble a TEU containing leaking nitric acid.
*At noon that day, the port control room was notified that there was smoke inside the ship. A few minutes later, the ship’s administration had informed the port control of the SLPA that the vessel itself suppressed the situation.
*However, then two hours later, the vessel again informed of a smoke out of the ship and Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) taking prompt action at this point, deployed the services of its Fire Brigade at the distressed vessel within a short period of an hour.
X-Press Feeders, the vessels owners said request to offload the cargo at Hamad Port and Hazira Port had been denied and it proceeded to the next port of call, which was Colombo.
The two ports had said they lacked the facilities to do it.