The situation on the X-Press Pearl deteriorated dramatically today. The three-month old, 2,700 teu ship, carrying 25 tons of nitric acid, caught fire on Thursday off Colombo Port with Sri Lanka deploying aircraft and navy vessels to assist in firefighting.
This morning the vessel suffered an explosion, all crew have evacuated and at least eight containers, some feared to be containing acid, have tumbled into the sea, with authorities issuing swimming bans nearby.
With the vessel now in a dire state, an operation is underway to try and move it 50 nautical miles away from the shoreline. High winds in the area are also fanning the flames into a greater inferno.
Reporting indicates that a vessel being boarded in position 04°33′ 12” N 001°15′ 49” E. Boarders departed from the vessel at 20th of May at 01:45 UTC. Vessel and crew are reported to be safe.
The Greek-flagged tanker Astro Perseus was at sea about 3.1 nautical miles northwest of Pulau Nongsa in East Indonesia’s Batam when a suspicious small vessel approached it from the stern.
The armed robbers tried to board the ship with the help of a hook, but fortunately without success. The master also performed successful maneuvers in order to prevent the boarding attempt.
On May 9, 2335 local time, the master informed the Singapore Ship Traffic Management System (VTIS) that a search had been carried out on the ship and no one had been found on board. The entire crew was safe without any reports of theft, and no assistance was sought.
The Singapore Coast Guard was immediately informed, which in turn briefed the Malaysian and Indonesian authorities.
At the ReCAAP ISC Weekly Report for May 4-10, 2021, it reported on an attempted armed robbery against ships in Asia involving a tanker sailing East off the coast of Batamai, Indonesia.
With this incident, a total of 13 incidents have occurred in the Straits of Singapore since January 2021. The ReCAAP ISC is concerned about the continuing occurrence of incidents in the area and advises all vessels to be on high alert and vigilant when crossing the area.
An MT was approached to within 15 meters by two (2) small crafts with six POB on board each. Vessel and crew are safe.