The fire on board the X-Press Pearl is reported under control at an anchorage off the coast of Colombo, Sri Lanka, but fire-fighting efforts are continuing, according to the vessel’s operator.
The Sri Lankan Navy continued its response to the incident over the weekend with three tugs from the Sri Lankan Ports Authority on site conducting cooling operations on containers near the fire. At times, the fire flared up with visible flames (see photo below) coming from containers above deck, the Navy said over the weekend.
The fire on board the X-Press Pearl was first reported Thursday as the ship was awaiting entry to Colombo harbor at an offshore anchorage.
The Navy said the ship is carrying 1,486 containers, including 25 tons of Nitric Acid and other chemicals which it had loaded at the port of Hazira, India on May 15. Preliminary investigations indicate the fire started due to a chemical reaction of the hazardous cargo.
All 25 crew members are reported safe, the ship’s operator reported Monday. Meanwhile a salvage team from SMIT has boarded the vessel for an assessment.
“Fire/smoke still remain on board the vessel but is currently under control. More firefighting tugs have been deployed and they will continue to fight the fire. The salvage team with fire experts and firefighters are already on board the vessel and are carrying out the risk assessment. They have already taken steps to stop the spreading of fire into other areas,” X-Press Feeders said in its update.
“We have been advised that special firefighting equipment will arrive tomorrow. We therefore remain hopeful that the fire will be put out by the salvage team at the soonest time possible,” it added.
Source: G Captain, 24 May 2021