Environmental concerns following the cargo fire on board the Singaporean vessel X-Press Pearl last week has seen Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Agency (MEPA) banish the vessel from its waters.

Flames were seen coming from cargo containers on the vessel last week, in the area of the vessel where chemical are stowed, and with the ship carrying around 25 tonnes of nitric acid, and the failure to completely extinguish the fire, MEPA has reportedly written to X-Press Feeders to demand the vessel its waters, fearing damage to the marine environment and air pollution.

“The company that owns the ship, its local agents and the insurance agent were instructed in writing to take immediate action to control the ship’s fuel and chemicals from being mixed with the Sri Lankan marine system,” Dharshani Lahandapura, the Chairman of MEPA said on 22 May.

Lahandapura also noted that the fire aboard the vessel is still smouldering, and that two tugs from the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) are continuously spraying the in an effort to lower the temperature in the affected containers.

“Although around 400kg of dry chemicals were sprayed to contain the fire, given the difficulties in reaching inside the containers aboard the vessel, the containment efforts are not 100% successful,” Lahandapura added.

A team from the Dutch company Smit Salvage has arrived on the scene to aid the efforts to control the fire and prevent pollution. In total there were 1,486 container on board the vessel, according to insurance claims specialist WK Webster.

Source : Container-News