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X‐Press Pearl

X‐Press Pearl
Accident date
Sri Lanka
Accident area
approaching the port of Colombo
Spill area
Cause of spill
Product transported
350 tonnes of fuel oil, containers including nitric acid, several containers of plastic pellets and chemical substances.
Nature of pollutant
fuel oil and plastic pellets
Ship / structure type
Container ship
Built date
X‐Press Feeders
IMO number


The 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.


Commissioned by the United Nations, Cedre sends two experts on site

Commissioned by the United Nations, Cedre immediately offered assistance and proposed two experts: Camille Lacroix, Aquatic Litter Monitoring and Studies Department Manager, and Stéphane Le Floch, Research Department Manager. Following a discussion with the Sri Lankan authorities, this proposal was accepted and they will leave on Tuesday for Colombo, where they will join a mission coordinated by the United Nations (UNEP*/OCHA** Joint Environment Unit).


Our two experts, both very experienced in the fields of oil, chemical and plastic pollution, will be tasked with conducting an initial review of capacities and needs for responding to the risks and immediate impacts, rapidly assessing the environmental impact and providing technical advice to the authorities on spill response, clean‐up, restoration and environmental monitoring actions to be conducted in the short and longer term. Under the leadership of the United Nations Resident Coordinator, they will liaise with the Delegation of the European Union in Colombo, the national authorities and other stakeholders.

See also

Our Press Area 14.06.2021

External links

X-Press Pearl Incident Information Centre: shipowner website on the accident

Unep web site and the Report of the UN Environmental Advisory Mission (July 2021)

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