Indian Navy’s Hydrographic Survey Ship INS Sarvekshak successfully completed survey action around the site of ill-fated MV X-Press Pearl on July 2 and handed over the survey data to the Sri Lankan authorities.
The ship equipped with the state of the art survey equipment including the Side Scan Sonar was deployed on June 25th at the request of the Government of Sri Lanka, said a press release of the Ministry of Defence.
The survey operations in three search areas around the wreck were progressed in coordination with Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka’s National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA).
The ship undertook a total of 807 miles of Side Scan Sonar survey and identified 54 prominent underwater debris from MV X-Press Pearl and also one additional uncharted wreck, read the official release.
The survey of the wreckage area would facilitate the issuance of advisory to both mariners and fishermen, and the subsequent removal of debris by Sri Lankan authorities, thereby ensuring the safety of navigation for marine traffic operating through Colombo port.
The X-Press Pearl reported an onboard acid leak and caught fire just as it was due to enter the Colombo harbour on May 20. The fire was put out only after 13 days.
In June, Sri Lanka’s Defense Secretary Gen Kamal Gunaratne (Retd) had expressed his gratitude to the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo for the support extended to douse the fire on vessel X-Press Pearl.
The Marine Environment Protection Authority said that the burning of the X Press Pearl vessel had caused a massive environmental disaster as beaches from the south coast to the west coast had been damaged by debris washed ashore.
According to local media reports, the Sri Lankan government is set to claim a whopping 40 million US dollars in damages due to the X-Press Pearl fire incident.
INS Sarvekshak is based at Southern Naval Command at Kochi and is fitted with state-of-the-art survey equipment like Deep Sea Multi beam echo sounder system, Side Scan Sonar, Sound Velocity Profilers, and a fully automated digital surveying and processing system.
In addition, the ship carries a Chetak helicopter which was extensively deployed during the survey for aerial recce. In the past, INS Sarvekshak has also undertaken foreign cooperation surveys in Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tanzania and Kenya, said the release.
India and Sri Lanka share a strong bond and partnership, and this survey operation undertaken has been another milestone in strengthening cooperation and understanding between the two countries and reinforcing the shared values.