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Thursday September 29th, 2022

X-Press Pearl fully sunk off Sri Lanka, sonar search planned for lost containers

FIERY END: Containers spilled off the vessel as the fire raged.

ECONOMYNEXT – X-Press Pearl, which caught fire with cargo including sodium hydroxide, acid and plastics has fully sunk in the shallows off Sri Lanka and caretakers are watching the vessel until Monsoon moderates to permits the wreck to be removed, its owners said.

During the fire, dozens of containers tipped off the vessel and some of their contents including plastic nurdles and one burnt and twisted container has floated ashore.

X-Press Feeders said the seabed for containers or other debris using side-scan sonar.

“Additionally, the caretakers will install navigational warning lights and markers on the wreck for the safety of other vessels,” the firm said.

“When conditions allow, side-scan sonar will be used to locate any sunken containers or debris in the anchorage for removal.”

Sri Lanka is in the midst of the South West monsoon season which ends in August.

“Due to the exposed nature of the anchorage to the prevailing South Westerly Monsoon, it is likely that the wreck removal can only start after the SW monsoon subsides; caretaker services will remain on site until then,” the firm said.

“They will continue to minimise pollution and monitor the wreck’s condition and report daily to experts ashore and Government agencies.

Sri Lanka’s Coast Conservation Minister Nalaka Godahewa said the wreck removal company is likely to refloat the vessel using pontoons, break it up and take it away.

Sri Lanka is meanwhile is continuing an investigation into the incident and the ship’s captain was bailed out after being arrested under the maritime environmental protection law.

Sri Lanka has also sought interim damages of 40 million US dollars from the insurers. (Colombo/June17/2021)

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