Commander of the Navy inspects beach area affected due to fire onboard MV X-PRESS PEARL
The fire on MV X-PRESS PEARL, a container ship anchored 9.5 nautical miles northwest of the Port of Colombo, is subsiding at this point in time. As of this morning (27th May 2021), heavy smoke and small flames were observed from the ship. In the meantime, the Navy in coordination with the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) has launched a special operation to minimize the impact on the coast due to various debris, including containers wash ashore, after having fallen overboard the fire-damaged ship and to keep the public out of danger from getting in touch with possible chemical compounds contain in such items.
Incidentally, the dedicated task shouldered on 26th May to clean up the coastal areas from Dickowita to Chilaw, which are likely to gather more containers and debris from the distressed ship, as well as the special security arrangement put in place to prevent the public from collecting residues and other items wash ashore, are still underway. Similarly, the same arrangement is in place covering the shoreline from Kollupitya to Panadura.
A special discussion was held today (27th May 2021) at the Malima Club House, Uswetakeiyyawa on mitigating the damage being done to the marine ecosystem due to the disaster caused by the fire of MV X-PRESS PEARL. The meeting was attended by State Minister of Urban Development, Coast Conservation, Waste Disposal and Community Cleanliness, Hon. (Dr.) Nalaka Godahewa, Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne, Chairman of the Urban Development Authority, Architect Harshan De Silva, Chairperson of the Marine Environment Protection Authority, Attorney-at-Law, Ms. Darshani Lahandapura, Director General of the Disaster Management Center, Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, government officials and officers from the tri-services and Police. Upon the discussion, Commander of the Navy thereafter made a visit to the beach area for an inspection and gave further instruction for the ongoing mission, highlighting the mitigation of adverse environmental impact on the coastal environment.
In the meantime, Sri Lanka Naval Ship ‘Gajabahu’ along with Indian Coast Guard Maritime Pollution Control Ships ‘Vajra’ and ‘Vaibhav’ continue to engage in damage control operations in the sea area where the distressed ship is lying. The Indian Coast Guard Ship‘Vajra’ which arrived in to augment firefighting mission handed over a stock of fire extinguishing agents (AFFF, OSD and DCP) to Sri Lanka Navy at the Colombo harbour on 26th May and returned to the waters where the distressed ship is lying.
Further, a Dornier aircraft from the Indian Coast Guard conducted sorties yesterday and today (27th May) covering the sea area where this ill-fated occurrence panned out, to collect details required for the marine pollution control operation.
Apart from that, Sri Lanka Navy along with Sri Lanka Coast Guard and Marine Environment Protection Authority continues to draw its special attention to remove containers and other debris from the fire stricken ship collecting in coastal areas.