MV X-Press Pearl continues to submerge, no fuel leak noticed

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – The Sri Lankan government Tuesday assured that there is no oil leak from the fire-ravaged container ship MV X-Press Pearl which is gradually sinking in the seas about 10 nautical miles off Colombo Harbor.

X-Press Feeders, operators of the X-Press Pearl, also confirmed Tuesday that the vessel’s bow and forecastle deck are now submerged, and the forward section of the hull continues to slowly settle to the seabed at a depth of 21 meters.

According to the salvors as of 0600 Sri Lanka local time Tuesday there has been no noticeable fuel oil spill, and some minor debris has been collected.

The ship operators said a grey sheen continues to be observed emanating from the vessel, and discoloration of the sea in and around the wreck remains. This has been apparent since the vessel’s stern became submerged, and the remnants of the cargo in the 1486 containers that were onboard were exposed to seawater.

The salvors will remain on scene to deal with any possible debris supported by the Sri Lankan Navy and Coast Guard, who have oil spill response capabilities on standby.

Representatives of ITOPF and Oil Spill Response are monitoring updates from the scene and are ready to deploy in case of any reported spill, X-Press Feeders said.

State Minister Nalaka Godahewa at a media briefing held at the Government Information Department this evening announced that three UN advisers would arrive in the island to advice on compensation for the damage caused by the shipwreck.

Meanwhile, the vessel’s Captain has appeared in court without charge supported by company lawyers under Section 12 of the MPPA. He was released on bail.

The crew have all returned negative Covid-19 PCR tests and are out of quarantine and housed in local hotels; the two seafarers recovering from leg injuries remain under hospital care.

 

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