Sri Lankan firefighters put out fire on container ship

In this photo provided by the Sri Lankan Air Force, smoke rises from the flame-engulfed MV X-Press Pearl container ship off the port of Colombo, Sri Lanka on Wednesday, May 26 2021. A fire on a container ship carrying chemicals raged in Sri Lanka for a sixth day on Wednesday and India sent ships to help put out the blaze, officials said. (Sri Lanka Air Force via AP)


COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) – Sri Lankan firefighters put out a fire on a container ship that had been burning for 12 days on Tuesday, as a court imposed a travel ban on the captain.

The MV X-Press Pearl fire devastated the 5-month-old ship, destroyed most of its cargo and caused severe pollution in the ocean and along a long stretch of the island nation’s famous beaches.

The Sri Lanka Ports Authority said rescue personnel “finally boarded the MV X-Press Pearl after extinguishing the blaze.” Evaluations are in progress.

The ship was anchored off the capital, Colombo, waiting to enter its port when it caught fire. The Navy believes the fire was caused by chemicals carried on the Singapore-flagged vessel. It was carrying 1,486 containers, including 25 tonnes of nitric acid and other chemicals that were loaded into the port of Hazira, India on May 15.

Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said police questioned the ship’s captain and an official from the ship’s local officer.

He said a Colombo court had banned the captain, engineer and assistant engineer from leaving the country.

The ship’s 25 crew members were evacuated last week after an explosion. They are Filipino, Chinese, Indian and Russian nationals.

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