Chemical cargo ship sinks in one of Sri Lanka’s worst sea disasters ever

A cargo ship carrying tons of chemicals is sinking off the west coast of Sri Lanka, the country’s government and navy said on Wednesday in one of the worst ever sea disasters in Sri Lanka.

Singapore-registered MV X-Press Pearl, carrying 1,486 containers, including 25 tons of nitric acid, along with other chemicals and cosmetics, was anchored off the island’s west coast when a fire broke out on May 20.

Authorities have since been battling the blaze as burning containers loaded with chemicals fell from the ship’s deck, the navy said last month.

Tons of plastic pellets have flooded the island’s coastline and rich fishing grounds, triggering one of the worst environmental crises in decades, experts say.

“The salvage company involved in the X-Press Pearl has indicated that the ship is sinking at its current position,” Fisheries Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said in a tweet.

The government has banned fishing along an 80-kilometer coastline, affecting 5,600 fishing boats, while hundreds of soldiers have been deployed to clean the beach.

A salvage crew is towing the ship into deeper water, Wijesekera added.


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