X-Press Pearl: Sri Lanka Prepares For an Environmental Disaster

 

Image Credit – BBC

 

The Sri Lankan authority is preparing for a massive oil spill from a sunken ship. Towing the container ship into deeper water failed as well.

This Singapore-registered ship, X-Press Pearl has been on fire for more than two weeks now near the port of Colombo. Part of it has settled down into the sea bed however, there is a bigger danger.

Experts are concerned about the thousands of tons of oil spills in the seawater that could destroy the sea and marine life. Not only had that but the ship carried 25 tonnes of nitric acid as well.

There were other highly inflammable chemicals and cosmetics as well which kept the fire burning from 20th May. It had a total of 1,486 containers that tumbled drowned into the sea before the huge fire was set out.

Plastics pellets of the shopping bag loaded in the ship are now on the seawater covered the western coastline of Sri Lanka. The marine life, as well as the ecosystem, is at stake now.

Experts say the pellets still in the sea could travel as far as India, Indonesia, and Somalia. Salvage experts tried to tow the brunt wreck of the ship but the ship was in a submerged situation where its rear part was settled in the sea bed but the front part was sinking slowly.

A Navy Spokesman said, “There is no oil leak from the ship yet, but arrangements are in place to deal with a possible spill which is the worst-case scenario,” and further added, “Even if the bow also hits the sea bed, there will be a section of the upper deck and bridge sticking out of the water.”

The ship carried 278 tonnes of bunker fuel oil and 50 tonnes of gas oil and also 20 containers full of lubricating oil.

Hemantha Withanage, the executive director of Sri Lanka’s Centre for Environmental Justice said, “The damage to the marine ecosystem is incalculable.”



      

Rafael Schneider

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