(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –A Sri Lankan court today ordered the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy to provide security to the Singapore-registered cargo ship MV X-Press Pearl, which caught fire while anchorage at 9.5 nautical miles northwest of the Colombo Port.
The Colombo Magistrate’s Court issued this directive when the case regarding the fire onboard the vessel was taken up today .The captain of the ship, its chief engineer and deputy chief engineer also appeared before the court yesterday.
Colombo Additional Magistrate Shalani Perera rejected a request by the Deputy Solicitor General Madawa to issue notices to 07 individuals including the Chairman of Sea Consortium Lanka (Pvt) Ltd, stating that the magistrate had no legal authority to hear the case.
Subsequently, the case was postponed to June 15.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Navy diving team undertook a special diving operation at MV X-Press Pearl Sunday to inspect if there is any fuel leakage from the sinking ship.
During this underwater operation, the diving team inspected if there is any leakage from the fuel tanks in the submerged part of the ship. The Navy said the diving team carried out this operation in unforgiving weather, as rough sea condition, poor underwater visibility and strong currents in the sea area were in existence right through.
X-Press Feeders, operators of the container ship ‘X-Press Pearl’ confirmed the situation on scene remains under observation with no signs of debris and no reports of fuel oil pollution as of 1800 Sri Lanka local time on June 07.
The ships aft portion remains on the seabed at a depth of about 21 meters, and the forward section remains afloat and is reported as stable.
A diving inspection was successfully performed on the stern quarter of the ship, and a marine chemist continues to take readings of the air around the vessel and the pH levels of the seawater to ensure the safety of the site, X-Press Feeders said.
The salvors remain on scene to deal with any possible debris supported by the Sri Lankan Navy and the Indian Coast Guard, who have oil spill response capabilities on standby.
Ashore representatives of ITOPF and Oil Spill Response are monitoring updates from the scene and remain on standby to be deployed in case of any reported spill. They continue to coordinate with MEPA and the Sri Lankan Navy on an established plan to deal with any possible spill of oil and other pollutants, X-Press Feeders said.