Coast Guard continues efforts to douse fire onboard container vessel off Colombo
New Delhi, May 26, 2021
The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) continued its efforts to control the fire onboard container vessel MV X-Press Pearl off Colombo in Sri Lanka on Wednesday.
ICG had swiftly deployed its assets to provide immediate assistance to the vessel on the directives fo the Government of India following a request from Sri Lankan authorities.
"While ICG ship Vaibhav on maritime patrol was diverted immediately to reach the scene of incident on May 25, 2021, ICG ship Vajra, which was despatched from Tuticorin, arrived at the site in the wee hours of May 26, 2021. Presently, both the ships are fighting the intense fire onboard the vessel using external fire-fighting system braving the odds of rough weather," an official press release said.
ICG ship Samudra Prahari, a specialised Pollution Response (PR) vessel has also been despatched in PR configuration to augment the firefighting efforts and respond to an oil spill, if it occurs.
ICG Dornier aircraft has undertaken air reconnaissance of the area. No oil spill has been reported, the release said.
"The distressed vessel MV X-Press Pearl was carrying 1,486 containers with nitric acid and other hazardous IMDG code chemicals. The extreme fire, damage to containers and prevailing inclement weather has caused the vessel to tilt to starboard resulting in falling of containers overboard. Concerted joint efforts are in progress by two ICG ships and four tugs of Sri Lankan authorities to douse the fire.
"The ICG has also kept its formations at Kochi, Chennai and Tuticorin on standby for immediate assistance towards Pollution Response. Continuous coordination is being maintained with the Sri Lankan Coast Guard and other Sri Lankan authorities for augmenting the overall response operations towards containing the fire onboard MV X-Press Pearl," the release added.