Sri Lankan State Minister of Fisheries, Kanchana Wijesekera posted on Twitter earlier today that the salvors for the X-Press Pearl said the vessel was starting to sink. Images showed the X-Press Pearl under tow to deeper waters with the ship gradually sinking.
A statement just issued by the vessel's owners X-Press Feeders said that they: "Regret to report that despite salvors successfully boarding the vessel and attaching a tow wire, efforts to move the ship to deeper waters
have failed, and the ships aft portion is now touching bottom at a depth of 21 meters. As of 1500 Sri Lanka time, the foreward area of the vessel remains afloat with smoke coming out of Cargo Holds No
1 and 2."
Salvors had boarded the vessel on Tuesday, 1 June to try and attach a tow but failed in their attempts due to sea conditions.
Video from the Sri Lankan Navy also posted on YouTube showed the still smouldering wreck sinking while continuing to be towed.
Wijesekera said Sri Lanka’s Department of Fisheries had suspended vessels entering from the Negombo Lagoon and fishing from Panadura to Negombo as emergency measures were taken to protect the lagoon.
There are fears of an oil spill from the wrecked vessel’s bunker tanks causing an environmental disaster along Sri Lanka’s coastline and fishing grounds.
The Sri Lankan authorities have launched a criminal investigation into the casualty and owners X-Press Feeders said earlier on Wednesday that “select seafarers continue helping local police with their enquiries into the fire and are cooperating with investigators”.