Colombo [Sri Lanka], June 3 (ANI): Fire stricken Singapore registered MV X-Press Pearl cargo ship, which caught fire near the Colombo harbor, had sunk off the coast of Sri Lanka during an attempt to tow the vessel to deeper waters.
Captain Indika de Silva, Navy Media Spokesman, said the towing the ship to the deeper seas was abandoned as the stern of the ship sank to the seabed when it was being towed 500 to 600 meters westward, reported Colombo Page.
X-Press Feeders, operators of the container ship 'X-Press Pearl' reported that despite salvors successfully boarding the vessel and attaching a tow wire, efforts to move the ship to deeper waters have failed.
The operators in an update confirmed that the ship's aft portion is now touching the bottom of the sea at a depth of 21 meters, reported Colombo Page.
"As of 1500 Sri Lanka time, the foreward area of the vessel remains afloat with smoke coming out of Cargo Holds No 1 and 2," the update said.
A Navy spokesman said several teams, including the Navy and the Ports Authority, were on standby to prevent an oil spill from the ship and that three Indian vessels are also ready to handle the ship.
He said the towing the ship to deep sea was abandoned as the back of the ship was submerged in water, leaving the ship stranded in the seabed. He added that due to the severe damage caused by the fire, there was an uncertain situation at the beginning of the towing, reported Colombo Page.
More than half of the ship is now sinking at sea. A salvor team belonging to a foreign company commenced the removal of the wrecked X-Press Pearl from the shipping lanes of the Sri Lankan port this morning.
The Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne and the Commander of the Indian Navy had a discussion on the incident this afternoon. It is reported that the Indian Navy Commander has promised to extend further support to Sri Lanka, reported Colombo Page.
Singapore-flagged Containership, X-Press Pearl with a container leaking nitric acid reported smoke from the cargo hold on the 20th May while anchorage at 9.5 nautical miles northwest of the Port of Colombo. The vessel reported fire on deck on May 21.
X-Press Pearl had carried 1486 containers with 25 tonnes of Nitric Acid, several other chemicals, and cosmetics; it had departed from the port of Hazira on India on 15th May 2021.
Sri Lankan Navy, Air Force, Sri Lanka Ports Authority and other local agencies in coordination with the Indian Coast Guard ships continually battling the fire managed to douse the flames on May 31 making it possible for salvor teams to board the ship and assess the damage. (ANI)