A Singapore-registered containership ‘X-Press Pearl’ had caught fire on 20 May 2021 in the waters of Sri Lanka after departing from the Indian port of Hazira. As reported by the ship operator, X-Press Feeders, the ship was carrying 1,486 containers onboard. All crew members were safely evacuated from the ship.

Singapore-registered Containership ‘X-Press Pearl’ - Operations Underway to Minimise Environmental Impact

As the flag State, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has been in constant communication with the Sri Lankan authorities, ship operator, and classification society on efforts to stabilise the ship, put out the fire, and put in place measures to reduce the extent of  environmental impact. MPA has also earlier offered to provide assistance to the Sri Lankan authorities pertaining to this incident. MPA has directed the ship operator to cooperate fully with the Sri Lankan authorities, and to adhere to measures to minimise environmental impact. MPA has also instructed the ship operator to carry on with their deployment of resources to clean up the sea as much as possible.

MPA further understands that the Sri Lankan authorities are investigating the cause of the incident with the ship operator. As the flag State, MPA has also commenced its own investigation on the incident.

Based on the latest update from the ship operator on 2 June, while the fire on board has been put out, the ship’s condition has deteriorated. MPA understands that the ship’s stern is now submerged, and the ship may be at risk of sinking. The ship operator is working with the salvors to continue with the salvage operations.

‘X-Press Pearl’ was registered as a Singapore flag in February 2021. Pursuant to the Merchant Shipping Act, MPA authorises recognised organisations to ensure the ship meets all applicable requirements, and MPA has a stringent criteria and oversight programme to do so. Based on MPA’s records, ‘X-Press Pearl’ had been delivered from the shipyard in February 2021 with the full set of applicable class and statutory certificates.