COLOMBO (News 1st): The Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) has instructed the company that owns the container ship ‘X-PRESS PEARL’ in distress due to a fire on board, to move the vessel out Sri Lankan waters immediately to ensure the safety of the citizens and the environment, in case the situation gets out of control.
“The company that owns the ship, its local agents and the insurance agent were instructed in writing to take immediate action to control the ship’s fuel and chemicals from being mixed with the Sri Lankan marine system,” Dharshani Lahandapura, the Chairman of MEPA told News 1st on Saturday (May 22).
Whilst pointing out that the fire aboard the ship is still burning to a certain extent, MEPA Chairman Lahandapura noted that two Tugs of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) are continuously engaged in efforts to control the temperature aboard the ship.
“Although around 400 kilograms of dry chemicals were sprayed to contain the fire, given the difficulties in reaching inside the containers aboard the vessel, the containment efforts are not 100% successful,” she further noted.
According to Sri Lanka Navy, the container ship ‘X-PRESS PEARL’ is in anchorage about 9.5 nautical miles northwest of the Colombo Port.
The vessel which is registered under the flag of Singapore had carried 1486 containers with 25 tonnes of Nitric Acid, several other chemicals, and cosmetics; it had departed from the port of Hazira on India on 15th May 2021.