An Echelon Media Company
Thursday July 18th, 2024

X-Press Pearl fire orgin is still a mystery, Sri Lanka official says

ECONOMYNEXT – An investigation is needed to find whether there was a link between an acid leak on a container on deck and a fire which took place in a hold of the ill-fated MV X-Press Pearl belowdecks, while anchored off Sri Lanka, an official said.

“People are speculating that this (acid leak) led to the fire,” Colombo Harbhour Master Captain Nirmal de Silva told reporters.

“Actually this (leaking container) was on deck. The fire started in the Number 02 hold. There will be investigations done by surveyors. It could be a coincidence.

X-Press Pearl had found a leaking container while in the Arabian Sea and had asked Hamad Port in Qatar and Hazira Port in India to offload it but the request had been denied saying they had no facilities.

The ship had arrived in Colombo late night on May 19 and had been anchored waiting for a slot at Colombo International Container Terminal, run by China’s CM Ports.

The acid was leaking probably due to incorrect packaging, an X-Press Feeders official had said.

At around 1000am a request had been made by email to ‘re-work’ the container.

De Silva said Colombo Port had the facilities to help the ship.

“This is not an out of the way thing,” de Silva said. “Sometimes containers which are discharged for transshipment also we get these leaks.

“We do these re-work operations taking into account precautions that need to be taken, depending on the danger of that chemical. All that is given in the safety data sheets.”

“We also have an obligation to help. We are a maritime hub, so we should be able to assist and facilitate with services that go with it.”

Shortly after the re-work request was made the ship had reported a fire in the hold and later said it had been put out.

De Silva said ships had their own fire extinguishing systems, involving pumping carbon dioxide into the hold which is usually a reliable way to extinguish a fire belowdecks.

However the fire had later re-ignited and the vessel had called for help.

Possibly the hold was not fully sealed and the CO2 may have leaked, de Silva said.

Colombo Port had then dispatched its fire tug.

Sri Lanka also had a legal obligation to assist vessels in distress.

“When someone is in distress, and requesting assistance, we have to provide that assistance to save lives property and our marine environment,” de Silva said.

The incident had occurred within Sri Lanka’s search and rescue (SAR) region under the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre, where the Navy had been empowered to provide the services, he said.

The owners had sent a team from SMIT Salvage and also called in the multipurpose tug Posh Teal which had arrived within 6 hours.

But bad weather had fanned the flames, driving the blaze out of control.

Sri Lanka’s Minister of State Minister of Urban Development, Coast Conservation Nalaka Godahewa said out of the 1,400 odd containers in the ship, over 500 were destined for Colombo.

It was the third call at Colombo of the newly built vessel which was delivered in February 2021. The first call at Colombo was March 17 and it had left on March 18. The second call was on 17 April and left on 18 April.

As of May 28, the fire was confined to the stern of X-Press Pearl. Most of the cargo believed to have been destroyed Minister Godahewa said. (Colombo/May28/2021)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sri Lanka to conduct threat assessments for presidential candidates

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has submitted a cabinet paper proposing security measures for presidential candidates and former presidents, following the recent attack on former US President Donald Trump during a campaign rally in the USA.

“This proposal suggests the appointment of a committee to conduct threat assessments and provide necessary security for Presidential candidates as well as former Presidents,” a statement from his media division said.

The committee will include the Secretary of the Ministry of Public Security as Chair, the Chief of Defence Staff, the Inspector General of Police, the Chief of National Intelligence, and the Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police/Elections.

A Deputy Inspector General of Police will be appointed to oversee all security arrangements.

The committee and the designated officer will work closely with the Election Commission to ensure seamless coordination of security arrangements, the PMD said.

After today, July 17, Sri Lanka’s Election Committee is empowered to announce a date for the presidential polls due to be held this year.

Minister of Foreign Affairs M U M Ali Sabry has said the election will be held on October 5 or 12.

Members of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) have said that the government should be accountable for the security of Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, the SJB’s presidential candidate. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka rupee closes flat at 303.80/304.00 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed almost flat at 303.80/304.00 to the US dollar on Wednesday, from 303.70/304.00 to the US dollar on Tuesday, dealers said, while bond yields were down.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.60/75 percent, down from 10.82/92 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2027 closed at 11.60/38 percent, down from 11.65/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2028 closed at 11.72/78 percent, down from 11.80/90 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 12.05/10 percent, down from 12.05/20 percent. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka stocks close down, John Keells, Hemas, Hayleys push turnover

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed down on Wednesday, data on its site showed.

The broader All Share Index closed down 0.41 percent, or 48.44 points, at 11,830; while the more liquid S&P SL20 Index closed down 0.52 percent, or 17.91 points, at 3,456.

Turnover was 1.2 million. A big part of this (Rs597mn) came from John Keells Holdings Plc (down at 194.25).

“There was foreign buying interest on John Keells and Hemas,” Softlogic Stockbrokers said.

“We saw foreign interest in selective counters persist.”

Hemas Holdings Plc contributed Rs143mn to the turnover, and the share closed down at 81.10.

Hayleys Plc contributed Rs156mn to the turnover, and the share closed up at 101.50.

The three crossings made up 67 percent of the turnover.

The capital goods counters, with all the bluechips, was the leading sector contributing to the day’s turnover.

With the exception of Hayleys and a couple of other companies, the counter saw most stocks close down or flat.

Sentiment around the banking counters also remained negative.

“The volatility in investor sentiments persisted. There are a lot of spectators in the market over the last few weeks, despite some positive news coming in.”

Treasury bill and bond rates have also dropped.

The top contributors to the ASPI were Melstacorp Plc (up at 86.00), SMB Finance Plc (up at 0.70), and TeeJay Lanka Plc (up at 40.00).

There was a net foreign inflow of 392 million. (Colombo/Jul17/2024)

Continue Reading