Sri Lanka launches investigation after burning ships polluting beaches | International News Sri Lanka News
Colombo said that after the ship flooded the country’s coast with microplastics, a criminal investigation has begun.
Sri Lanka conducted a criminal investigation into a large container ship fire on Sunday, which flooded the island’s coast with plastic pollution, which may be one of the worst marine disasters in the country’s history.
Tons of plastic pellets have flooded the beaches of Negombo, a famous tourist destination in South Asia, forcing people to ban fishing and raising concerns about ecological damage.
After the fire broke out from Gujarat, India to Colombo, the MV X-Press Pearl registered in Singapore has been smoldering for 11 days.
Police said the 25 crew members who had been evacuated from the ship will be questioned on Monday after the Sri Lanka Marine Environmental Protection Agency filed a complaint.
Last week, the authorities said they believed the fire was caused by a leak of nitric acid that the crew had known about since May 11.
Police spokesman Ajith Rohana told AFP: “The captain and crew are in the quarantine area, but the health authorities told us that we can start questioning them from tomorrow.”
“We have sent samples of contaminated seawater and burning debris from the ship for a forensic report.”
Authorities and container ship operators said that although the fire has been brought under control, the fire continues to burn.
The ship’s owner, X-Press Feeders, said that the ship’s hull was intact and the fuel tank was not damaged.
Officials said that most of the cargo on board, including 25 tons of nitric acid, sodium hydroxide, lubricants and other chemicals, appeared to have been destroyed in the fire.
The Marine Protection Agency of Sri Lanka (MEPA) said the plastic waste from the burning ship may have caused “the worst beach pollution in our history” and warned that it could cause ecological damage for years.
Fishermen who wash away sediment from 80 kilometers (50 miles) of coast are prohibited.
The Fisheries Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said the government will compensate the fishermen for their expected losses.
At least 4,500 fishermen have been affected in the fishing and tourist resort of Negombo. Officials from the Roman Catholic Church in the area said on Saturday that they begged for financial assistance.
Pastor Sujeewa Athukorale told AFP on Saturday that people are also worried that demand for seafood in the area will decrease due to concerns about pollution.