Fire-Hit Cargo Ship Sinks Off Sri Lanka Coast


A cargo ship carrying tonnes of chemicals is sinking off Sri Lanka’s west coast, sparking fears of an environmental disaster.

According to reports, the Singapore-registered MV X-Press Pearl, was carrying 1,486 containers, including 25 tonnes of nitric acid, along with other chemicals and cosmetics that were loaded at the port of Hazira, India, on May 15.

On May 20, the ship was anchored off the island’s west coast when a fire erupted, while the ship was waiting to enter the port.

Since then, the authorities have been battling the blaze, as flaming containers laden with chemicals have fallen from the ship’s deck. However, the water submerged the MV X-Press Pearl’s quarterdeck on Wednesday, a day after firefighters extinguished the blaze burning for 12 days.

Sri Lankan navy spokesman Captain Indika de Silva told the media that the rear part of the ship has sunk and that they have stopped its towing.

Experts say tonnes of plastic pellets have swamped the island’s coastline and rich fishing grounds, creating one of the biggest environmental crises in decades.

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