Fire was reported onboard the X-Press Pearl off Colombo Port on May 20; the vessel is carrying 25 tons of nitric acid and other chemicals. Emergency services said the fire was under control on May 21. The airforce dropped fire suppressing powder on the vessel, and three tugs from the Sri Lanka Port Authority attended to cool containers and contain the fire.
The situation appears to have deteriorated rapidly with reports of an explosion on the vessel on May 25.
Videos of the fire onboard the 1,486 teu feeder vessel show containers and their contents floating in the sea around the vessel; local officials said eight containers had fallen into the sea as of the morning of May 25.
Container fires are major concern for the industry with misdeclared dangerous cargoes resulting in sometimes deadly fires that can take weeks to extinguish.
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