Colombo: (World View media, Reuters)
Sri Lankan authorities expanded operations to put out a fire on a burning container ship off the coast of Colombo on Tuesday (May 25).
All crew were evacuated from the vessel after a fire onboard intensified and injured two crew members, a spokesman for Sri Lankan Navy said.
The MV X-Press Pearl, a container vessel sailing with a Singaporean flag and carrying cosmetics and chemicals including 25 tonnes of nitric acid, was anchored off the Colombo harbour when a container caught fire on Friday (May 21), officials said.
An explosion was reported from within the vessel on Tuesday, Navy spokesman Indika De Silva said, adding that an air force helicopter was using dry chemical powder to douse the fire.
Sri Lankan authorities said experts from Netherlands and Belgium were surveying the vessel, while neighbour India had promised to send a coast guard vessel, an aircraft and a “water lily” boat to assist in firefighting operations.
Sri Lanka’s shipping minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena said that a special Dutch flight with vital equipment to contain the fire was expected to soon reach Sri Lanka.
The vessel had left the Hazira port in India on May 15 and was on its way to Singapore via Colombo.
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