New Delhi: India has dispatched two Coast Guard vessels and an aircraft to help the Sri Lankan Navy douse the flames on container ship ‘X-PRESS PEARL’ that caught fire off the coast of Colombo last week.
The cargo vessel, carrying a consignment of chemicals and raw materials for cosmetics from Hazira in Gujarat to Colombo Port, caught fire 9.5 nautical miles from the coast earlier on May 20 where it was anchored outside the Colombo port.
“Help on way! Responding promptly as ever to the request by Sri Lanka, India dispatches ICG Vaibhav, ICG Dornier and Tug Water Lilly for fighting the fire,” the Indian High Commission said in a tweet on Tuesday
The 25 crew members of Philippine, Chinese, Indian and Russian nationality on the ship have been rescued. Official sources said at least five Indians were among the crew rescued, PTI reported.
The Navy, which confirmed the Indian assistance in a statement released on Tuesday, said it has warned the fishing community to stay away.
Stating that efforts are underway to completely extinguish the flame, the Navy said tug boats have been deployed to reduce the heat surrounding the container
Besides, two offshore patrol vessels — Sri Lanka Naval Ship (SLNS) Sagara, Sindurala — and a fast attack craft are using dry chemical powder to contain the fire, which Navy Spokesman Captain Indika de Silva said was caused by a chemical reaction.