India has promptly responded to the emergency request by Sri Lanka Navy seeking assistance to douse the fire on the Chemical Container Ship off Clolmo harbor. Accordingly India has deployed multiple assets including Vessels Vaibhav, Vajra and Samudra Prehari by Indian Coast Guard and Tug Water Lilly to salvaging efforts of burning Singapore-flagged Merchant Vessel X Press Pearl. The Indian deployment was sent by Director General, Shipping in addition to Dornier aircraft for aerial reconnaissance.
Assistance of Government of India for firefighting as well as pollution control was sought by Sri Lanka Navy at 1200 hrs on 25 May 2021. This came in the wake of an onboard explosion on 25 May 2021 on the Singapore-flagged MV X Press Pearl. Immediately upon receiving the request, relevant authorities in India were alerted and assets were deployed expeditiously. While the Dornier aircraft reached Colombo at around 1600 hrs on 25 May 2021,the first Vessel would reach around 1900 hrs .
India has the tradition of being the first responder during crises in Sri Lanka. It may be recalled that a potentially huge oil spill was averted with assistance from India after MT New Diamond with 200,000 metric tons crude oil on board caught fire off Sri Lanka’s Eastern Coast in September 2020. Three Indian Naval Ships rushed with assistance following the floods in Sri Lanka in May 2017.