The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has deployed its patrol vessels ICGS Vaibhav and Vajra to douse a fire that broke out in a container vessel in Sri Lankan waters, after the island nation requested for it.
A major fire broke out on the MV X-Press Pearl, a container ship, following an explosion that is reportedly caused by the collapse of containers due to rough weather.
The ship caught fire about 9 nm from Colombo port in Sri Lanka.
MV X-Press Pearl, enroute from Hazira to Colombo, is loaded with 1,486 containers carrying about 25 tonnes of hazardous nitric acid and other chemicals.
The vessel is holding about 325 metric tonnes of fuel in its tanks.
All 25 crew, including five Indians, have been evacuated.
ICGS Vaibhav and Vajra, offshore patrol vessels with external foam firefighting and pollution response capabilities, were deployed after Sri Lankan authorities sought the assistance of ICG.
In addition, ICG formations at Kochi, Chennai and Tuticorin are standing by for immediate assistance.
ICG aircrafts are being brought to Tuticorin from Chennai and Kochi for aerial surveillance and pollution response.
On May 20, 2021, a fire broke out onboard MV X-Press Pearl off Colombo port which was reported to be brought under control with the help of Port authorities the next day.
However, on May 25, 2021, the fire re-ignited following an explosion reportedly due to the collapse of few of the containers due to rough weather.
About 8-10 containers are reported to have fallen overboard post the explosion and fire.