ICG continues to help of control MV Express Pearl Fire
In response to request of Sri Lankan authorities and Govt of India directives thereon, 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 by evening of 25 May 21, ICG ship Vajra was despatched from Tuticorin and arrived on scene in the wee hours of 26 May 21. Presently, both the ships are fighting the intense fire onboard the casualty ship using external fire fighting system braving the odds of rough weather.
ICG ship Samudra Prahari, a specialized 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 for assessment and support. No 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 one side 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. ICG ship Vajra had entered Colombo port on 26 May 21 evening and handed over 4500 litres of AFFF compound and 450 kg Dry Chemical Powder to Sri Lanka authorities before rejoining the firefighting operations early morning today.
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.