Steps will be taken to rescue the Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) equipment of the Express Pearl which was sinking after the fire and hand it over to the CID the Director-General of the Merchant Shipping Secretariat Ajith Seneviratne said today (06). The Navy has been tasked to remove the VDR from sinking ship he added.
He revealed at a media briefing held at the Media Ministry today that all the communication information of the ship is being recorded in this equipment like the black box of the aircraft and it is hoped that it will be handed over to the CID for use in the ongoing investigations regarding the ship. Since July 1, 2002, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) made it obliged to install a black box-like data recorder on every ship over 3000 gross tonnages. That decision was taken with the goal of reporting an accident or disaster.
Speaking further at the media briefing, the Director-General said that the owner of the ship, the company that has taken over the rescue operation and the insurance companies are working on obtaining compensation for the damage caused by the ship and the steps to be taken regarding the ship in the future.
The Harbour Master of the Port of Colombo, Captain Nirmal de Silva stated that they were not informed of any chemical leakage before anchoring in the Port of Colombo. However, they informed about this after the anchorage and said that such incidents are a common occurrence during the operations at the Port of Colombo. The ship caught fire while arrangements were being made for it. He said that he also inspected the area this morning and said that although there were no signs of an oil spill so far, the Marine Pollution Prevention Authority was ready to respond immediately in the event of such an oil spill.