As you may have read, the X-Press Pearl, a 1400+ TEU capacity, 2 month old feeder vessel operated by X-Press feeders on their Singapore/Middle East service caught on fire and is currently burning in the Indian Ocean close to the port of Colombo.
The fire which started on the 19th of May 2021 while waiting at anchorage, was subsequently brought under control with the help of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA), Sri Lanka Navy and the Sri Lankan Airforce which dropped fire suppressing powder on the vessel, but the fire started again followed by an explosion which is still burning.
Here is the latest update on the situation.
The operators of the vessel, X-Press Feeders has advised on their website that the firefighting operations to extinguish the blaze aboard the vessel have continued through today despite the ongoing adverse weather conditions.
It has been reported that firefighting tugs are constantly spraying and misting the fire stricken vessel with support from the Sri Lankan Navy and Indian coastguard.
While there are unconfirmed reports of General Average having been declared on the vessel and there is fears that the vessels could split and sink, at least there is some confirmed good news in the form of the recovery of the injured ship crew.
“The crew member who was transferred to a special facility in a military hospital after testing positive for Covid-19 remains asymptomatic and is recovering from a leg injury sustained during his evacuation from the vessel.
A second injured crew member continues to recover from his injuries in a local hospital. All other crew members who remain in a Colombo quarantine facility are in good health and are in contact with their families.” said X-Press Feeders in their advisory.
Interestingly, the operators also have mentioned that reports that the vessel was denied entry into Hazira Port in India and Hamad Port in Qatar are incorrect. The ship underwent discharge and loading operations in both ports before continuing on its planned journey to Colombo.
Applications had been made to both ports to offload a container that was leaking nitric acid, but the advice given was there were no specialist facilities or expertise immediately available to deal with the leaking acid and not denied entry as reported.