A merchant ship is sinking off the coast of Sri Lanka, environmental disaster is feared

A merchant ship is sinking off the coast of Sri Lanka, environmental disaster is feared
A merchant ship is sinking off the coast of Sri Lanka, environmental disaster is feared

A merchant ship carrying tons of chemicals is sinking off the west coast of Sri Lanka, and the country’s government and navy fear one of the worst marine disasters ever.

The Singapore-registered MV X-Press Pearl, carrying 1,486 containers, including 25 tons of nitric acid, along with other chemicals and cosmetics, was anchored off the island’s west coast when a fire broke out on May 20. . Authorities have been fighting the fire ever since; Burning containers laden with chemicals fell from the ship’s deck, the navy said last month.

Tons of plastic pellets have flooded the island’s coast and rich fishing grounds, creating one of the biggest environmental crises in decades, experts say. “The ship is sinking. The rescue company involved is trying to tow the ship on the high seas before it sinks to minimize marine pollution, but the rear of the ship has drifted, ”the spokesman for the Sri Lankan Navy told the BBC. Captain Indika Silva.

The coastal stretch near the town of Negombo, home to some of the country’s most pristine beaches, has already been contaminated with oil and debris for days. Meanwhile, the minister of fisheries suspended the entry of vessels from the Negombo lagoon and fishing from Panadura to Negombo with immediate effect, as the rescue company said the ship was sinking at its current location.

He also said emergency prevention measures have been taken to protect the lagoon and surrounding areas to contain damage from any debris or in the event of an oil spill.

The Singapore-flagged container ship anchored off the port of Colombo reported, for the first time, a fire on board due to a chemical leak in one of its containers.

186 meters long, operated by the world’s largest feeder operator X-Press Feeders, it was carrying 1,486 containers with 25 tons of nitric acid, several other chemicals and cosmetics from the port of Hazira, India on May 15, 2021.

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