ICG sends 1 more ship incase there is oil spill from merchant vessel off Colombo coast

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New Delhi, May 27 (PTI) The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has sent one more ship to deal with the oil spill, if it occurs, from the merchant vessel X-Press Pearl that is on intense fire off the coast in Sri Lankan capital Colombo, the defence ministry said on Thursday.

The vessel was holding about 325 metric tonnes of fuel in its tanks. Also, X-Press Pearl was loaded with 1,486 containers carrying about 25 tonnes of hazardous nitric acid and other chemicals.

Sri Lanka's apex environment body on Thursday said the Singapore-flagged cargo vessel is in the process of sinking, and that preparations are underway to tackle the resulting oil spill. The defence ministry said that ICG Ships Vaibhav and Vajra have been sent and they continue their efforts to douse the intense fire onboard X-Press Pearl.

Moreover, ICG's Dornier aircraft has undertaken air reconnaissance of the area for assessment and support, it added.

No oil spill has been reported as yet, it noted.

'ICG ship Samudra Prahari, a specialised Pollution Response (PR) vessel, has also been despatched in PR configuration to augment the firefighting efforts and respond to oil spill, if occurred,' it mentioned.

ICG deployed its assets in response to the request of Sri Lankan authorities and directives by the Indian government, the ministry said.

Initially, a fire occurred onboard X-Press Pearl, which is nine nautical miles from the Colombo port, on May 20 and it was brought under control within a day. A major fire ignited on board the vessel again on Tuesday morning. PTI DSP KJ

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