A chemical-laden container ship that had been on fire for nearly two weeks began sinking off the coast of Sri Lanka, raising fears of a serious environmental catastrophe.
Attempts to move the feeder ship MV X-Press Pearl into deep water failed on Wednesday, prompting the Singapore operator to focus on reducing environmental damage due to the increased risk of potential oil spills.
The ship has already caused some of the worst marine environmental catastrophe in Sri Lanka’s history, with chemicals contained in burning containers entering the surrounding waters and plastic shells washed ashore off a sandy beach near Negombo.
X-Press Feeders, the operator, told the Financial Times that it had called an NGO called Oil Spill Response and an NGO that had responded to oil and chemical emissions as a result of the ship’s plight. Growing threat.
The Associated Press Sri Lankan Navy spokeswoman Capt. Indika de Silva said the shipwreck at its current location could cause serious pollution.
The ship had about 350 tons of bunker fuel on board but it is not yet clear how much was burned during the fire and whether it was possible to evacuate a certain amount of tanks.
“The African part of the ship is now sinking to a depth of 21 meters,” the X-Press Feeders said in a statement, adding that the shipwreck is now approaching a depth of 21 meters. Slow down, slow down, slow down, slow down, slow down, slow down, slow down, slow down, slow down, slow down, slow down, slow down, slow down, slow down, slow down, slow down, slow down, slow down, slow down. Slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly.
The country’s Fisheries Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said Sri Lanka’s Maritime Environmental Protection Authority had drawn up a plan if oil spilled. Physical barriers were used to slow down the spread and skimmer ships were used to help disperse any oil spills.
The fire broke out on May 20, when a ship carrying 1,466 containers anchored in Colombo waiting to enter port.
Sri Lankan officials believe the noise was caused by the newly built ship carrying 25 tonnes of nitric acid, which was used to make chemicals and explosives.
The Department of Fisheries barred boats from entering the Negombo Lagoon and fishing activities from Panadura and Negombo.
The Sri Lankan navy and Indian coast guard have been supporting efforts to put out the blaze and curb pollution following the sinking.
A 25-strong fire brigade and crew were evacuated from the ship after a second explosion last week. One of the crew later tested positive for the Covid-19. A local court has banned the ship’s captain, chief engineer and assistant engineer from leaving the country.
The spread of chemicals, plastics and oils “reduces the resilience of marine ecosystems” and threatens the livelihoods of those who depend on the sea for food and livelihoods, said John Mimikakis, vice president of the Asia-Pacific program of the Environment, Defense Fund.
He said the catastrophe highlighted a surprising global environmental issue in the world today: developing countries have made relatively little contribution to fossil fuel demand or climate change, yet they are both having dire consequences.