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Event: FR Fire
Number: 2021-000067
Country: LKA Sri Lanka
Date (YMD): 2021-6-12
Information Source:Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS), Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA)
Comments: On 20 May 2021, cargo ship “X-PRESS PEARL with 1486 containers on board carrying dangerous cargo; 25 tonnes of nitric acid, caustic soda, solid sodium methoxide solution, cosmetics, methanol and vinyl acetate including micro plastics, plastic pellets together with other cargo caught fire about nine nautical miles (16 Km) off the coast of Colombo commercial shipping harbor. The fire continued to burn till end of May and several small explosions were heard from the container ship during the fire. Sri Lanka Navy, Airforce, Coast Guard supported by the Indian Navy worked around the clock to contain the fire for nearly two weeks. The firefighting was made difficult and complicated by the southwest monsoon rains/ high winds and highly flammable poisonous cargo. The 25 crew (Indian, Philippines, Chinese and Russian nationals) were evacuated and are currently being treated at hospitals in Colombo. One crew member was tested positive for COVID19. According to Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA), this is Sri Lanka’s worst environmental disaster in its history with unimaginable consequences to the marine environment.
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