MEPA ready to face any oil spill from X-PRESS PEARL

MEPA ready to face any oil spill from X-PRESS PEARL

MEPA ready to face any oil spill from X-PRESS PEARL

Written by Zulfick Farzan

03 Jun, 2021 | 12:46 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st); Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority says it is prepared to face any possible oil spill from the sinking X-PRESS PEARL container ship off the coast of Sri Lanka.

MEPA Chairperson Darshani Lahandapura speaking to reporters on Thursday (03) said Oil Containment Booms will be positioned around the vessel and chemical dispersants will also be dropped from the air in order to prevent leaking oil, if any, from spreading.

“If the weather is not on our side, we will have to be ready for a beach clean-up and we are prepared for those operations,” she said.

General (Retd) R. M. Daya Ratnayake, the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority speaking to reporters said the first point of action at the moment is to determine if the fuel in the vessel remains onboard and thereafter the necessary measures will be taken.

“MEPA led teams are already taking the necessary measures to address an oil spill,” he said adding that at a meeting with the Attorney General it was decided to produce a compensation claim.

He said foam was added to the container that was leaking nitric acid while water was only added to other parts of the vessel in the early stages in order to cool down the vessel temperature.

The X-PRESS PEARL is considered Sri Lanka’s worst-ever ocean disaster.

 X-Press Feeders, operators of the container ship ‘X-Press Pearl’ can confirm that the ship’s aft portion is sitting on the seabed at a depth of about 21 meters, and the forward section is settling down slowly.

Salvors remain on scene supported by the Sri Lankan Navy and the Indian Coast Guard off the Port of Colombo.

Salvors will remain with the vessel to monitor the ship’s condition and oil pollution if any.

The immediate focus is to minimize any further damage to the environment. Oil Spill Response Limited as been appointed to respond to any possible spill and is liaising with International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Ltd (ITOPF), who will provide technical expertise.

Both OSRL and ITOPF have people on the ground in Colombo coordinating with the Sri Lankan Navy on an established plan to deal with any possible spill of oil and other pollutants.

Early estimates are that most of the cargo has been incinerated during the fire. Ashore, contractors continue working with local authorities on shoreline clean-up efforts to safely dispose of any debris that is washed up.

Most of the evacuated crew continue to serve out quarantine at dedicated local hotels, whilst select seafarers continue helping local police with their enquiries into the fire and are cooperating with investigators.

We will respect this process and not publicly discuss operational details until the investigation has been completed.

The crew member who was transferred to a special facility in a military hospital after testing positive for Covid-19 remains asymptomatic and continues to recover from the leg injury. A second injured crew member continues to recover from his leg injuries in a local hospital.

X-Press Feeders will continue cooperating with the relevant investigations into this incident.


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