X-Press Feeders, operators of the container ship fire-ravaged 2,700 teu X-Press Pearl, confirmed today that the wreck of the ship is now wholly sitting on the seabed at a depth of 21 m. Caretaker salvors are onsite on a 24-hour watch to deal with any possible debris and report any form of a spill.
A grey sheen continues to be observed emanating from the vessel, and discolouration of the sea in and around the wreck remains. This has been apparent since the vessel’s stern became submerged, and the remnants of the cargo in the 1,486 containers that were onboard were exposed to seawater.
Representatives of ITOPF and Oil Spill Response are monitoring updates from the scene.
Due to the exposed nature of the anchorage to the prevailing southwesterly monsoon, it is likely that the wreck removal can only start after monsoon subsides.
Salvors will install soon navigational warning lights and markers on the wreck for the safety of other vessels. When conditions allow, side-scan sonar will be used to locate any sunken containers or debris in the anchorage for removal.
Arjuna Hettiarachchi, the chairman of Setmil Group, the local agent of X-Press Feeders, was arrested yesterday and later granted bail. Investigators believe Hettiarachchi deleted emails relating to the X-Press Pearl as the accident unfolded off Sri Lanka’s west coast. Earlier in the week, the ship’s captain was also arrested.