International Maritime Organization secretary general Kitack Lim is ready to offer technical assistance to prevent pollution from the wreck of the fire-ravaged containership X-Press Pearl off Sri Lanka.

The 2,743-teu vessel — which was delivered this year — partly sank after a serious fire and is in danger of spilling bunker fuel and cargo-related pollutants into the sea.

Lim said: "We are closely monitoring the situation as it evolves, including reports of chemical pollution, debris coming ashore in the form of plastic pellets and the potential for oil pollution."