X-Press Pearl Owners Face Legal Action After Blazing Ship Pollutes Sri Lankan Waters

The owners of the Singapore registered ship X-Press Pearl burning away near Colombo port are in trouble as Sri Lanka has decided to sue them for marine pollution.

On Sunday, Sri Lankan authorities announced that they have decided to sue the owners of the nitric acid carrying vessel that has caused marine pollution in the area. The ship has been blazing for 11 days and its toxic cargo containers have tumbled into the sea and washed up on beaches. Pellets of plastic have polluted the water and are likely to harm the marine life of the area.

The police have revealed that they have launched a criminal investigation into the blaze. Much of the hazardous cargo of the ship has burned up in the fire and started to gather as pollutants in the ocean. The ship is still ablaze. The 180m rear ends of the vessel is still burning.

Image Credits: @IndiaCoastGuard – Twitter

The microplastics which had started to gather on the beaches have prompted a fishing ban and fear of ecological damage. Amidst this, Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority has met the attorney general Sanjaya Rajaratnam to chalk out legal action against the insurers, owners and crew of the vessel.

MEPA Chairman Dharshani Lahandapura reiterated this when she revealed that they have done through the details and are formulating a legal plan to take action against anyone responsible for the incident.

Although the whole situation hasn’t been evaluated for environmental damage as of yet, there is enough indication that it’s the worst marine pollution in Sri Lanka in recent times.

Sri Lanka’s navy chief, Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne has revealed that the ship’s fire is under control although it’s still on fire.

The fire will have to take another couple of days to extinguish completely. The Navy Chief has ruled out the possibility of the vessel breaking up. He has also said that the ship shouldn’t be towed away until it has been examined for structural weakness.

International salvage firm SMIT has been working in tandem with Sri Lankan and Indian Coast Guard to salvage the ship.

The ship was on its way to Malaysia and Singapore from India when the fire broke out near Colombo. Before India, it had been to Dubai and Qatar.

As of now, the police is gearing up to question the 25 crew members of the ship who have been rescued and put under quarantine. The authorities had indicated earlier that the fire could have emerged from a nitric acid leak on May 11. The crew had knowledge of the leak.

Reference: aninews.in

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