Sri Lankan officials have said that the carcasses of a dolphin, over 10 turtles, birds, and fish have washed up on Sri Lanka’s famed beaches after the X-Press Pearl cargo ship started sinking off the shore of Colombo.
In a statement on Sunday, the Department of Wildlife Conservation said an investigation was underway to ascertain the cause of death of the marine species.
The bodies of these creatures washed up on beaches stretching from Puttalam in the northwest to Mirissa to the country’s south. Two turtles with injuries were discovered on the Unawatuna beach in the south, per media reports.
A link between the unforeseen marine life death and the gutting of the container ship is expected to be the focus of a special police investigation.
The Singapore-flagged vessel was transporting 1,486 containers that contained 25 tonnes of nitric acid and other chemicals when arriving from India.
On May 20, it sent out a call for help when it was heading toward the Colombo port. It soon caught fire. This later resulted in the navy dispatching vessels to fight the fire onboard.
Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority has said the blaze on the vessel resulted in a massive ecological disaster as many beaches were damaged by the debris washing ashore.
The government has said that a lot of marine life had been killed due to pollution caused by the fire. The fisheries department has currently imposed a ban on fishing from the southern to the western coast of Sri Lanka. A criminal probe is also underway to unearth the cause behind the raging fire onboard the X-Press Pearl.
Earlier on Sunday, investigators received the ship’s voyage data recorder that contained the communication between the ship’s parent company, the captain, and the local shipping agent.
The Navy further said an oil spill had not been detected from the vessel, which was nearly 18.52 km away from the Colombo port.
#srilanka_navy continuing dedicated beach cleaning drives in affected coastline to remove debris and plastic material originating from #MVXPressPearl. #lka #SriLanka #defence #beachcleaning pic.twitter.com/vmQ0zC1QBz
— The Sri Lanka Navy (@srilanka_navy) June 7, 2021