On Wednesday, the cargo ship that burned off the coast of Sri Lanka on May 20 and began dumping several tons of fuel and microplastics into the water sank, causing a huge environmental disaster. The ship was anchored about 9 nautical miles (17 kilometers) off the port of Kepungoda – some twenty kilometers north of the capital Colombo – and had begun to sink in the early hours of Wednesday morning: a rescue team had tried to drag the wreck further offshore to limit damage, but to no avail.
The MV X-Press Pearl departed on May 15 from the port of Hazira, India, and was sailing off the west coast of Sri Lanka to return to Singapore, where it was registered. It carried about 25 tons of nitric acid, sodium hydroxide and other dangerous chemicals, as well as 28 containers of raw materials used for the production of plastic bags; there were more than 300 tons of fuel in its tanks.
Due to the fire, controlled with great difficulty in the days following the explosion, part of the fuel and plastic materials began to disperse in the water and deposit on the beaches of the area, extensively damaging the marine life and plants of the lagoon areas.