X Press Pearl, a vessel carrying 25 tons of nitric acid has been engulfed in a fire after an explosion broke out on the ship. The ship had been anchored 9.5 nautical miles off the Colombo Port on 20th May when the fire erupted. It was scheduled to enter the port after reaching there on 19th May.
All the crew has been evacuated and the injured have been admitted to a Colombo hospital. The ship had 25 crew members including 2 Indian seafarers who are the only ones injured in the accident.
As per the emergency services, initially, the fire had been put off and brought under control by 21st May. The fire had been extinguished by concentrated efforts by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Bell-212 helicopters and 3 Sri Lankan Port Authority tugs who cooled down the containers by spraying fire suppressing powder.
However, the situation had deteriorated further after an explosion broke out on 25th May. Videos and footage from the scene have confirmed the devastation reported by local officials who are saying that at least 8 containers have fallen into the sea.
Several Indian ships like the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) Vaibhav, ICG Dornier, and Tug Water Lily have been deployed by the Indian government to control the fire which is raging due to the explosion.
The ship has been found to be a Singapore registered vessel that set sail from Hazira port in India back on May 15th. The 25 crew member ship has seafarers from the Philippines, China, India and Russia.
Danger of Oil Spill
Meanwhile, the Marine Environmental Protection Authority (MEPA) has issued an oil spill warning from the ship and asked people to stay away from the floating boxes which are toxic and poisonous.
MEPA has warned that the toxic material floating on the sea could reach Colombo and Negombo and the nearby shores. The public has been warned not to touch or open such boxes if they reach the shore and immediately report it to the Sri Lankan Police or Navy.
Sri Lankan Fisheries Minister Kanchana Wijesekara has revealed that signs of the oil spill have been seen in the region and the ministry along with MEPA and the Sri Lankan Navy and Coast Guard is cleaning it up and minimising the environmental damage.
Marine Insight does not own the rights of the video.