A chemical-laden cargo ship sinks off Sri Lanka coast,, sparking fears of an environmental disaster

A cargo ship carrying tones of chemicals sank off Sri Lanka’s west coast, its navy said on Wednesday, and tones of plastic pellets have fouled the country’s rich fishing waters in one of its worst-ever marine disasters.

The Singapore-registered MV X-Press Pearl had left the port of Hazira in India on May 15 and was on its way to Singapore via Colombo.

The vessel carrying 1,486 containers, including 25 tones of nitric acid along with other chemicals and cosmetics, was anchored off Sri Lanka’s west coast when a fire erupted onboard after an explosion on May 20.

Flaming containers laden with chemicals tumbled into the sea from the ship’s deck as emergency crews sought to contain the blaze over the ensuing two weeks.

The Singapore-enlisted X-Press Pearl had been ablaze for right around fourteen days before the blast was put out this week. Many huge loads of oil from gas tanks could spill into the ocean on the off chance that it sinks, obliterating close by marine life.

Sri Lankan and Indian naval forces had worked mutually over the previous days trying to extinguish the fire and keep the boat from separating and sinking.

The craft began to sink early on Wednesday, and a salvage crew tried to tow the vessel to deeper water away from the coast, Fisheries Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said in a tweet, but the attempt was abandoned after several hours.

“Towing of the fire-engulfed X-Press Pearl ship was stopped due to the rear end of the vessel hitting the sea bed,” navy spokesman Captain Indika de Silva told Reuters.

The government on Wednesday suspended fishing along an 80-km (50-mile) stretch of the island’s coastline, affecting 5,600 fishing boats, and hundreds of soldiers have been deployed to clean affected beaches.

“The ship has dealt a death blow to our lives,” said Joshua Anthony, head of a region fishing union. “We can’t go into the sea which means we can’t make a living.”

Sri Lankan authorities accept the fire was brought about by a nitric corrosive break which the group had known about since 11 May. The boat was conveying 25 tons of the profoundly destructive corrosive, which can be utilized in the assembling of manures and explosives.

X-Press Shipping – the Singapore based organization that possesses the vessel – affirmed the group had known about the break, yet said they were denied authorization by both Qatar and India to leave the boat there before the fire broke out.

The reality that Sri Lanka permitted the vessel to enter its waters after it was dismissed by two different countries has prompted boundless public annoyance.

Authorities have stopped a police objection against the skipper of the boat, who was safeguarded alongside other group individuals a week ago. Sri Lanka police on Tuesday said they scrutinized the chief and the specialist of the boat for over 14 hours. A court has given a request forestalling the commander, boss specialist and the extra designer from leaving the country. The Singapore-hailed compartment vessel, moored off Colombo port, first revealed a fire on board because of a compound break in one of its holders.

 

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