VideoA partially burnt cargo ship sank off the coast of Sri Lanka. As the chemicals and plastics begin to burn and leak, the damage to nature is massive, according to the Navy. But oil spills from tanks could make it an even bigger environmental disaster. Oil flows into all the water.
The Sri Lankan government on Wednesday halted fishing along the island’s coast. Hundreds of soldiers were deployed to clean up the damaged beaches.
Singapore-registered MV X-Press Pearl, carrying 1,486 containers, including 25 tons of nitric acid, along with other chemicals and cosmetics, was installed off the west coast of Sri Lanka when a fire broke out after an explosion on May 20. Burning containers loaded with chemicals fell from the deck into the sea as emergency services tried to contain the fire for the next two weeks. The fire was extinguished after 13 days.
The ship’s crew included 25 crew members, including Filipinos, Chinese, Indians and Russians. They were all able to get off on time. The captain and some other crew members are not allowed to leave Sri Lanka for the time being. They have to wait for the results of the investigation into the cause of the fire.
The ship began to sink early Wednesday. The rescue crew attempted to tow the ship into deeper waters, away from the coast, but the attempt was halted after several hours. “The towing of the burning X-Press Pearl has been halted because the stern of the ship hit the sea floor,” a Navy spokesman said. “The Navy was preparing for the oil spill when the ship sank.”
The ship’s explosion is also a fatal blow to the local fisheries. “We can’t go out to sea, which means we can’t earn a living,” said Joshua Anthony, president of the Regional Fisheries Association.
The MV X-Press Pearl left the port of Hazira in India on May 15 and was bound for Singapore via Colombo.
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