MEPA To Undertake X-Press Pearl’s Wreck Removal Early Next Month
The removal of X-Press Pearl, the shipwrecked container ship, is expected to commence early next month. The Marine Environmental Protection Authority will be undertaking removal activities. However, this will have to follow pre-decided terms and conditions.
In the meantime, the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing has reportedly said that the final report on ecological damage as a result of the accident will be shared before 30 November this year.
The Marine Environment Protection Authority also aspires to take part in a long-term investigation plan into the damage caused.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has asked the authority to calculate the damage caused to the environment, taking into account the damage and the cost needed to rehabilitate the damaged environment.
The Singapore-registered MV X-Press Pearl was an almost brand new ship transporting chemical cargo. It had caught fire on 20 May when at anchorage about 9.5 nautical miles off the port of Colombo. Investigations found that an unforeseen chemical leak in a container has caused the incident. It burned for almost two weeks before the fire had finally been put out on 2 June. The ship with its hazardous cargo sank after a few days.
Wreckage removal was put off until the Southwest Monsoon had subsided.