Written by Zulfick Farzan
03 Jun, 2021 | 6:18 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st); Sri Lanka has activated the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan (NOSCP) following the blaze onboard the X-PRESS PEARL, said Sri Lanka Ports Authority Harbour Master Captain Nirmal Silva on Thursday (03).
The Marine Environment Protection Authority is leading NOSCOP to address any possible oil spill following Sri Lanka’s worts marine environment disaster.
“Vessels are in the vicinity with dispersants in the event an oil spill is reported,” he told reporters while noting that skimmers are also readily available to remove oil floating on the ocean surface.
36 hours had passed since the aft portion of the vessel hit the ocean floor and no oil spill was observer so far, he confirmed to the media adding given the present weather in Sri Lanka’s coast containing an oil spill would be an issue, however, it had been discussed with the relevant stakeholders.
He said when the X-PRESS PEARL was reaching Colombo, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority was informed of the goods being transported and the normal procedure of approval to enter was granted.
“The vessel while at anchorage in Sri Lankan waters, informed the SLPA of a leak from one of the containers and the need for a re-work on the container,” he said adding leaks are common in the shipping industry and re-working of containers is also a common practice across all ports on the world.
“We are prepared to offer all services required in the shipping industry and goods are transported following the IMDG Code or International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code,” he said adding when explosive material is being transported approval from the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence is mandatory.
“The vessel first reported of smoke onboard the vessel and thereafter said it was contained. However, hours later they reported the issue was back and a team from SLPA was dispatched to the location,” he said adding at 11:20 PM on the 20th of May the SLPA was informed of an onboard fire.
The X-PRESS PEARL is steadily sinking into the ocean floor off Sri Lanka’s West Coast.
Ever since the first broke out onboard the container ship, debris has been washing up on the island’s western coast prompting the Army,, Navy, Air Force, and other parties to launch clean-up operations along the coastal best.
Sri Lankans living in the coastal area were strongly advised by local police to refrain from collecting debris and authorities warned the debris could be contaminated with harmful chemicals.
Sri Lanka is discussing with the salvors and other parties on the removal of the wreck and a detailed assessment is to be done, said Sri Lanka’s Harbour Master.
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