Foreign experts have been sent to assist Sri Lanka in managing the oil spill disaster caused by the MV X-Press Pearl, in the deep sea of the Western and South Western Sri Lankan waters.
The Singapore registered ship was travelling towards India and was set to dock in Colombo. 25 crew members were evacuated last week. Two have suffered minor injuries. Three officers from the ship (two Russians and an Indian) have been taken in for questioning and their passports have been impounded.
Sri Lankan authorities are of the view that the fire was caused by a nitric acid leak, which the crew onboard was supposedly aware of, nine days before the fire started.
Accordingly, representatives from the International Tankers Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) and Oil Spill Response (OSR), have been sent to monitor the situation. They will work in coordination with the MEPA (Marine Environment Protection Authority) and the Sri Lankan navy in order to come up with a suitable plan, to mitigate further destruction of the environment.
The CEO OF X-Press Feeders X-Press Feeders, conveyed his sentiments with regards to the disaster caused to Sri Lankan shore, as well as the environment.
The Sri Lanka Navy commented saying that, due to poor visibility, they were unable to assess the situation accurately.With the bow of the ship gradually sinking, experts fear that the oil leak could cause irreparable damage to marine life and the sea bed. The Navy performed a brief inspection on Thursday (03).
Sri Lanka’s Harbour Master Nirmal Silva, commented saying that, based on expert opinions it was possible that the oil may have burnt out, and as of Thursday, no oil had leaked out thus far.
However , precautions have been taken to minimize the effects of a possible oil spill disaster. Accordingly, the MEPA has placed oil dispersants and skimmers if the vessel were to leak, spilling its 350 tonnes of fuel oil into the Ocean. Following a cry for help from the Sri Lankan Navy, measures have been taken to station an Indian coast guard vessel in the area. The vessel is fully equipped to deal with an oil slick.