Colombo court orders harbour master to seize X-Press Pearl: report

According to a local press report the Colombo Commercial High Court has ordered the Colombo Harbour Master to take custody of the burnt-out container ship X-Press Pearl (IMO 9875343).

The Court was said to have taken the move on October 7th after considering a case filed by locally based Trico Maritime (Pvt) Ltd, Colombo. That company said that a consignment of goods it had ordered from the Middle East was being transported aboard the vessel. It claimed that the owners of the X-Press Pearl should either transfer the custody of the goods to them or provide them with compensation, which Trico Maritime valued at $600,000, including costs incurred as a result of the accident.

Singapore-flagged Containership X-Press Pearl reported smoke from the cargo hold on May 20th while at Colombo anchorage, Sri Lanka, having previously observed that one of its containers was leaking, but not being able to find a port willing to unload it.

On May 21st the vessel reported a fire on deck and firefighting efforts were deployed by the port authority, but on May 22 an explosion was heard in cargo hold #2.

Twelve crew members disembarked from the vessel on May 23rd to make way for a 12-person firefighting team. By May 24th the fire had intensified and was observed to be spreading A further and louder explosion was heard on May 25th, at which point was decided to evacuate the 13 crew still on board, and the dozen firefighters.

By June 1st an inspection team were able to board the vessel. It reported the engine room flooded, and concerns were expressed at the stability of the vessel, given the amount of water in the holds

Efforts to make a connection for towing failed and early in June the ship’s aft portion sank to the bottom at a depth of 21 metres.

2021-built, Singapore-flagged, 31,629 gt X-Press Pearl is owned by Eos Ro Pte Ltd care of manager Sea Consortium Pte Ltd (X-Press Feeders) of Singapore, ISM manager is Eastaway Ship Management Pte. It is entered with London Club on behalf of Killiney Shipping Pte Ltd.