Singapore-based shipowner X-Press Feeders has confirmed that a fire ignited in an onboard container carried by one of its vessels anchored in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Thursday, May 20.
The crew of the Singapore-flagged X-Press Pearl, which is deployed on X-Press Feeders’ Singapore–Middle East service, attempted to battle the blaze with the help of tugs sent by local authorities. However, the firefighting effort was still ongoing as of Sunday, May 23.
X-Press Pearl is currently 9.5 nautical miles off the coast of Colombo. Sri Lankan authorities have since requested that the owners have the vessel towed further out to sea to lessen the risk of fuel oil or chemical cargo spilling into the country’s territorial waters.
Officials believe the incident was caused by a chemical reaction of rainwater coming into contact with the liquid substance carried in the container that was the source of the blaze.
The Sri Lanka Navy has also sent three vessels to Colombo Anchorage to assist in the firefighting operation.
No injuries have so far been reported among the containership’s 25-strong crew, which include Filipino, Chinese, Indian, and Russian nationals.
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