xpress pearl fire

Photo: Sri Lanka Ports Authority

Salvage Team Boards X-Press Pearl Gutted by Fire

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 17686
June 1, 2021

Update: X-Press Pearl Partially Sinks

Salvors have boarded the MV X-Press Pearl for an assessment after a fire left the ship practically unrecognizable off the coast of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

An update from the Sri Lankan Ports Authority on Sunday said the ship remained structurally intact and dousing of the vessel further reduced the flames to small spot fires in the aft of the ship.

A salvage team was expected to board the ship for an assessment to consider the possibility of towing the vessel.

The X-Press Pearl remains at anchor at an anchorage approximately 9.5 miles off the coast of Colombo, where the incident has played out.

The ship initially reported a fire on May 20 after arriving at the anchorage with a container leaking nitric acid. While dousing the fire appeared to be successful initially, the fire exploded in intensity last week and all 25 crew members and a salvage team from SMIT were evacuated.

The Sri Lanka Police Service is reportedly investigating the incident.

A salvage team can bee seen on board the X-Press Pearl, June 1, 2021. Photo: Sri Lanka Ports Authority

The vessel’s operator, X-Press Feeders, confirmed Monday that salvors report no visible flames aboard the vessel, though smoke emanating from the ship’s aft.

“Firefighting tugs will continue spraying and misting operations to ensure the cooling of all hotspots and the vessel’s hull and hatches, with temperature readings being taken with specialised equipment that has arrived from the Netherlands. There is continued support from the Sri Lankan Navy and Indian coastguard, who remain on scene,” Monday’s update said.

“Salvors are still exploring the possibilities of boarding the ship and making a tow connection so it can be moved, with the safety of the team the highest priority. As of 1100 Hours on May 31, 2021, Sri Lankan time, the salvors confirmed that the vessel’s hull remains structurally intact, and there has been no loss of oil into the port’s waters.

“Ashore, contractors continue working with local authorities on their fifth day of shoreline clean up efforts to safely dispose of any debris that has washed up.

“Most of the evacuated crew continue to serve out quarantine at dedicated local hotels, whilst select seafarers have today been helping local police with their enquiries into the fire and are cooperating with investigators. We will respect this process and not publicly discuss operational details until the investigation has been completed.

“The crew member who was transferred to a special facility in a military hospital after testing positive for Covid-19 remains asymptomatic and continues to recover from the leg injury. A second injured crew member continues to recover from his leg injuries in a local hospital,” the statement said.

The X-Press Pearl, which was delivered only three months ago in February, is now a total constructive loss and General Average has been declared. It is registered in Singapore.

More X-Press Pearl Photos:

Photo: Sri Lanka Ports Authority
Photo: Sri Lanka Ports Authority
Photo: Sri Lanka Ports Authority
Photo: Sri Lanka Ports Authority
Photo: Sri Lanka Ports Authority
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