A team has arrived in Sri Lanka to provide technical advisory support to Sri Lanka on oil spill contingency planning, clean-up operations and environmental impact assessment, drawing on international best practice, after the burning and subsequent sinking of container ship X-Press Pearl (IMO 9875343) off the coast of Sri Lanka
The team will work closely with Sri Lankan counterparts from the Marine Environment Protection Authority, Ministry of Environment, Central Environmental Authority and other agencies.
The delegation is being sponsored by the European Union, and consists of Dr Stephane Le Floch and Dr Camille La Croix from the France National Oil Response and Research Centre (CEDRE) and Luigi Alcaro from the Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA).
Thorsten Bargfrede, chargé d’affaires at the Delegation of the EU to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, said that “I’m pleased to announce that the EU, in collaboration with the UN, is able to deploy environmental emergency experts to support Sri Lanka in addressing, and more importantly limiting, the impact of the MV X-Press Pearl disaster”.
The EU has also provided satellite imaging support for spill detection through the European Union Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), along with a donation of about $240,000 to pay for clean-up gear and PPE.
Meanwhile the UK’s Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) is providing laboratory services to analyze water monitoring samples and advise teams on the ground in Sri Lanka.
X-Press Feeders, the vessel’s operator, has confirmed that the wreck is now resting fully on the seabed at a depth of about 21 meters. This has slightly lessened the complexities of salvage, compared to when the stern had settled on the sea bed but the bow was still afloat. Caretaker salvors are on site on a 24-hour watch to address any possible debris and report any oil spills, should they occur. None has been detected to date.
A grey sheen was still coming from the vessel, the operator confirmed, and discoloration of the sea in and around the wreck was still present, but this has not been formally classified as a spill.
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.