In Picture – Smoke rises from a fire onboard the MV X-Press Pearl container in the seas off the Colombo Harbor, in Sri Lanka May 26, 2021.
Container ship MV ‘X-PRESS PEARL’, carrying chemicals raged off Sri Lanka for a sixth day, India has sent vessels to assist douse the blaze, officials reported. Apart from the 325 metric tonnes of fuel in its tanks, X-Press Pearl was loaded with 1,486 containers carrying about 25 tonnes of hazardous nitric acid, and other poisonous chemicals.
Five tugboats are fighting the fire, aided by a Sri Lankan navy ship anchored nearby. Fire has spread to the quarterdeck, which incorporates the ship’s bridge.
Crew members, salvage workers and firefighters evacuated the ship Tuesday after an explosion. Several containers tumbled into the ocean .
Aerial photos released by Sri Lanka’s air force on Tuesday showed the vessel engulfed in flames and thick smoke. High winds intensified the blaze, Silva said.
The “ship is now poised with a starboard list (leaning to the right) thanks to the rough seas caused by the prevailing inclemency ,” the navy said during a statement. The Colombo Gazette newspaper reported that the MV ‘X-PRESS PEARL’ was “unstable” and “expected to sink”.
The Marine Environment Protection Authority has warned that any oil spillage will move towards the sensitive Negombo lagoon, which is a major tourist attraction, the report said. The authorities had earlier asked local people to avoid coming in contact with the debris and slush from the ship.