According to X-Press Feeders, former operators of the container ship X-Press Pearl, the forward section of the wreck has now left Sri Lankan waters. The shipwreck was lifted aboard the semi-submersible GPO Amethyst.

The section is now en route to a certified decommissioning facility in Indonesia for dismantling, recycling, and disposal.

The Shanghai Salvage Company (SSC) completed the raising of the forward section with lifting barges Zhong Sheng 166 and Han Hang Da Jian on December 22, 2023, and positioned the wreckage on the deck of the waiting semi-submersible, GPO Amethyst, on December 24.

SSC then undertook lightening works to ensure the stability of the load for transport and applied for approval for the GPO Amethyst with the forward section wreck to depart Sri Lanka. Once the authorities had given clearance, the GPO Amethyst left Sri Lankan waters on 10 January 2024, bound for Indonesia.

Also read: Aft ship of X-Press Pearl wreck removed from sea floor

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 while preparations were made for removal of the wreck. The aft section of the vessel was removed by salvors in January 2023, followed by the fore section in December 2023.

Picture: The stranded X-Press Pearl in 2021 (by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority).

Also read: X-Press Pearl wreck removal delayed for Monsoon again