Indian Coast Guard rushes help to douse fire on container ship off Sri Lankan coast

Indian Coast Guard rushes help to douse fire on container ship off Sri Lankan coast

NEW DELHI: The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on Wednesday rushed its vessels to douse the fire that broke out on container vessel MV X-Press Pearl off Colombo coast in Sri Lanka.

According to ICG, the Sri Lankan authorities sought the Indian Coast Guard’s assistance towards fire fighting operations. Upon government directives, ICG ship Vaibhav on maritime patrol was diverted immediately to reach the scene of the incident on Tuesday and ICG ship Vajra, which was despatched from Tuticorin, arrived at the site in the wee hours of May 26 to provide immediate assistance to MV X-Press Pearl.

Another ICG ship Samudra Prahari, a specialised Pollution Response (PR) vessel, has also been dispatched in PR configuration to augment the firefighting efforts and respond to the oil spill if occurred.

The ICG said that presently, both the ships are fighting the intense fire onboard the vessel using an external fire-fighting system braving the odds of rough weather.

“ICG Dornier aircraft has undertaken air reconnaissance of the area. No oil spill has been reported,” it said.

Meanwhile, ICG has also kept its formations at Kochi, Chennai and Tuticorin are on standby for immediate assistance towards pollution response. Continuous coordination is being maintained with the Sri Lankan Coast Guard and other Sri Lankan authorities for augmenting the overall response operations towards containing the fire onboard MV X-Press Pearl.

The distressed vessel MV X-Press Pearl was carrying 1,486 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 the 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,” it added. Earlier on Wednesday, ICG ship Vajra entered Colombo Port to handover 4500 litre AFFF and 450 kg DCP to augment firefighting efforts MVX Press Pearl and sailed out to rejoin fire fighting operation. (ANI) 

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