The ship caught fire on 20 May, while the ship was anchored about 9.5 nautical miles (18 km) northwest of Colombo and was waiting to enter the harbour.
Ship sinking off the coast of Sri Lanka (File Photo)
The cargo ship that caught fire nearly a month ago sank off the coast of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo on Thursday. The ship was loaded with chemicals and with its sinking, there has been a possibility of environmental disaster. The ship’s operator said that the wreckage of the Singapore-flagged X-Press Pearl has now completely settled on the foothills at a depth of 21 meters in the sea.
X-press feeders said that a rescue team is present at the spot to deal with any debris and oil spills. Darshini Lahandapura, head of Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority, also confirmed the sinking of the ship. He said that due to the turbulent sea, it is unsafe to remove the wreckage at present.
Debris removal unsafe due to monsoon
He said that high waves are rising in the sea right now. We cannot do anything right now due to the turbulent sea. The monsoon season started last month and it usually ends in September. He said that till then the owner of the ship has appointed a caretaker company. The entire area will be looked after by the caretaker company until the owner appoints a debris removal company.
The government demanded 40 million dollars in damages
The ship caught fire on 20 May, while the ship was anchored about 9.5 nautical miles (18 km) northwest of Colombo and was waiting to enter the harbour. The Sri Lankan Navy believes the fire was caused by chemicals stored on the ship, including 25 tonnes of nitric acid and other chemicals. Most of the chemicals were burnt in this fire, but there are fears that the spill of chemicals and oil on the ship could harm marine life.
Authorities put out the fire last week but the ship had started to sink. The ship remained partially submerged till Thursday. The government has asked the United Nations and some other countries for help in assessing the damage to the marine environment and coastal areas. Sri Lanka has asked X-press feeders to pay $ 40 million in damages.
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