CREW EVACUATED AFTER EXPLOSION ON CONTAINER SHIP OFF COLOMBO

2021-07-17

An explosion occurred Tuesday on a ship anchored near Sri Lanka’s capital on which a fire had been burning for several days, prompting the crew’s evacuation. The container vessel MV X-Press Pearl was anchored about 9.5 nautical miles (18 kilometers) northwest of Colombo and waiting to enter its port when the fire erupted. They believed the fire was caused by chemicals being transported on the Singapore-flagged ship. The ship was carrying 1,486 containers, including 25 tons of nitric acid and other chemicals which were loaded at the port of Hazira, India, on May 15.
CREW EVACUATED AFTER EXPLOSION ON CONTAINER SHIP OFF COLOMBO
CREW EVACUATED AFTER EXPLOSION ON CONTAINER SHIP OFF COLOMBO
The vessel’s 25-member crew includes Philippine, Chinese, Indian and Russian nationals. Navy spokesman Capt. Indika de Silva said crew members, salvage and firefighting experts evacuated the ship after the explosion. Several containers also tumbled into the sea. Sri Lankan authorities said experts from the Netherlands and Belgium were surveying the ship, while India had promised to send vessels and an aircraft to help fight the fire. Aerial photos released by Sri Lanka’s air force showed the vessel engulfed in flames and thick smoke.