Following the sinking of the fire‐stricken MV X‐Press Pearl, a large oil spill is threatening the coastline of Sri Lanka, who authorities have sought international assistance.
At the request of the French Secretariat‐General for the Sea (SGMer), two expert scientists from Cedre will leave Brest on Tuesday for an on‐site mission set to last several weeks
The MV X‐Press Pearl is a container ship that entered into service in February 2021 and is operated by the Singapore‐based company X‐Press Feeders. The vessel was carrying a cargo including nitric acid, several containers of plastic pellets and chemical substances. According to the shipowner, the vessel had 350 tonnes of fuel oil on board. On 20th May, as the vessel approached the Port of Colombo (Sri Lanka), a fire broke out on board. On the 25th, the crew was evacuated. Many containers fell overboard; plastic pellets and various other debris began to wash up on the beaches in the south‐west of Sri Lanka. The blaze raged from 20th May to 1st June and burned itself out after destroying the entire ship. Despite an attempt to tow the vessel, the ship sank on 2nd June. On the 6th, the Sri Lankan authorities requested European assistance, calling for equipment and expertise (both on site and remote) from the United Nations.