S’pore planning probe into burnt ship off SL coast

Singapore, Maritime and Port Authority

Singapore’s Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) on Thursday announced that it aims to launch a probe into the burnt X Press Pearl container in the waters off the coast of Sri Lanka, as it threatens of a environmental disaster.

The MPA said that it “has been in constant communication with the Sri Lankan authorities” about the Singapore-flagged MV X-Press Pearl, which caught fire on May 20 close to the Colombo Port, dpa news agency reported.

The ship was carrying 1,486 containers with 25 tonnes of Nitric Acid and several other chemicals and cosmetics from the port of Hazira, India on May 15.

An attempt to tow the MV X-Press Pearl into deeper waters away from the main port at Colombo failed on Wednesday as part of the vessel became submerged, causing concerns that oil and chemicals could leak from the ship into the sea.

The ship’s owners, X-Press Feeders, said on Thursday that the the “aft portion is sitting on the seabed at a depth of about 21 metres” and there were “no signs of debris and no reports of oil pollution”.

The MPA said it was working with Sri Lankan officials to “put in place measures to reduce the extent of environmental impact”.

The MV X-Press Pearl “had been delivered from the shipyard in February 2021 with the full set of applicable class and statutory certificates,” the MPA said, citing “a stringent criteria and oversight programme”.

The Sri Lankan government has said a large amount of marine life had been killed as a result of the pollution from the ship.

The island nation’s Marine Environment Protection Authority said that the burning of the X Press Pearl vessel had caused a massive environmental disaster as beaches from the south coast to the western coast had been damaged due to the debris which was washed ashore.


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