ICG’s ongoing efforts to control MV Express pearl fire
As per the directives of Govt of India in response to request of Sri Lankan authorities, Indian Coast Guard swiftly deployed its assets to provide immediate assistance towards major fire incident onboard container vessel MV X-Press Pearl off Colombo.
While Indian Coast Guard ship Vaibhav on maritime patrol was diverted immediately to reach the scene of incident on PM 25 May 21, ICG ship Vajra was despatched from Tuticorin and arrived the scene in the wee hours of 26 May 21. Presently, both the ships are fighting the intense fire onboard the casualty using external fire fighting system braving the odds of rough weather.
ICG ship Samudra Prahari, a specialised Pollution Response (PR) vessel has also been despatched in PR configuration to augment the firefighting efforts and respond to oil spill, if occurred. ICG Dornier aircraft has undertaken air reconnaissance of the area on AM 26 May 21. Nil oil spill has been reported.
The distressed vessel MV X-Press Pearl was carrying 1486 containers with nitric acid and other hazardous IMDG code chemicals. The extreme fire, damage to containers and prevailing inclement weather has caused the vessel to tilt to starboard resulting in falling of containers overboard. Concerted joint efforts are in progress by two ICG Ships and four tugs of Sri Lankan authorities to douse the fire.
In addition, ICG formations at Kochi, Chennai and Tuticorin are standby for immediate assistance towards Pollution Response. Continuous coordination is being maintained with Sri Lankan Coast Guard and other Sri Lankan authorities for augmenting the overall response operations towards containing the fire onboard MV X-Press Pearl.