X-Press Feeders, former operators of the fire-stricken container ship X-Press Pearl, report that the aft section of the wreck was raised from the sea floor and placed aboard the semi-submersible Fan Zhou 10 in January. The wreck section will be dismantled at a certified decommissioning facility.
The Shanghai Salvage Company’s onsite team is now focusing on the remaining fore section of the wreck with tandem lifting barges ZR122 and ZR123, planning to raise the last section in the near future, depending on prevailing weather conditions.
The wreck removal process was paused by the end of April 2022 for the monsoon season and picked up again in mid-November. The salvage company then commenced wreck-cutting operations and successfully removed the accommodation block. Then the hull was cut into two sections to prepare it for lifting.
Also read: X-Press Pearl clean-up operation at sea completed
Captain still stuck in Sri Lanka
The travel ban for the Russian Captain, Vitaly Tyutkalo, remains in place despite efforts of X-Press Feeders to have him released for travel back to his family and homeland. He has now been away from family and friends for more than sixteen months, with the ongoing uncertainty exacting a heavy burden on him and his family.
In February 2022, the remaining three crew members detained by the Sri Lankan government, next to the captain, were released.
Also read: Sri Lanka releases three more crew of the X-Press Pearl, only captain still detained
X-Press Pearl fire and sinking
While waiting at the outer harbour of the Port of Colombo for a berth to carry out scheduled container handlings, a fire broke out on the X-Press Pearl on 20 May 2021. After thirteen days of firefighting, the fire was contained. Due to bad weather and structural damage, however, the vessel’s sinking could not be prevented. The cause of the fire was allegedly a container leaking nitric acid.
The ship has since been resting on the seabed with a massive cleanup operation continuing around it and ashore and preparations being made for removal of the wreck.
Also read: How X-Press Feeders plans to salvage the X-Press Pearl shipwreck