The MV X-Press Pearl (XPP) was a Singapore-registered Super Eco 2700–class container ship, measuring approximately 186m in length and operated by X-Press Feeders. On the 2nd June, during an attempt to tow the vessel to deeper waters after having caught fire, the vessel partially sank in approximately 21m of water. In addition to the 278 tonnes of bunker fuel oil and 50 tonnes of gas oil contained in the vessel, the XPP was carrying various types of cargo within shipping containers: including, 25 tonnes of nitric acid and millions of plastic nurdles.
As a result of the incident, the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources imposed a discontinuation of fishing activities encapsulating an area of ~500km2 resulting in four fisheries’ claims submitted by the Sri Lankan Government due to loss of fishing opportunity. MRAG were engaged by the London P&I Club to assess the impact the XPP incident and subsequent closure may have had on fisheries in Gampaha, Colombo and Kalutara districts on the western coast of Sri Lanka, to assist in assessing fisheries claims advanced by the Sri Lankan Government.
Phase I of the assessment, acting as a rapid pilot assessment acted as a scoping tool to characterise the affected fisheries and identify the factors affecting the impact of the XPP incident on fisheries livelihoods. Phase II increased the confidence in the estimates of these factors across all claimant categories, by building a large empirical evidence base more representative of claimants. Phase II also investigated market trends since the XPP incident, including changes to market prices, sales volumes, and consumer confidence for key target species within the affected districts; Gampaha, Colombo and Kalutara.