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UN. Sri Lankan ship fire “caused significant damage to the planet” | Sri Lanka News


The UN envoy in Sri Lanka says the sinking ship has “caused significant damage” to dangerous ecosystems.

A UN envoy in Sri Lanka has said that the sinking of a container ship carrying chemicals off the coast of the capital “has caused significant damage to the planet”, with dangerous substances entering the ecosystem.

Singapore-flagged MV X-Press Pearl crashes near Colombo on Thursday after catching fire, raising concerns about a possible environmental disaster.

The United Nations has stated that it is coordinating international efforts to assist Sri Lanka in assessing the damage, and in restoring efforts to prevent further disasters.

“Such an environmental emergency is causing significant damage to the planet by the release of hazardous substances into the ecosystem,” said UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka Hana Singer-Hamdi in a statement late Saturday evening. “This, in turn, threatens the lives and livelihoods of the population in the coastal areas.”

A UN team of chemical experts on oil spills provided by the European Union has been sent to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has already filed a $ 40 million interim claim with X-Press Feeders to cover the cost of the firefighting operation broke out on May 20, when the ship anchored about 9.5 nautical miles (18 kilometers) northwest of Colombo, waiting to enter port.

Environmentalists are suing the government և X-Press Feeders for failing to prevent Sri Lanka’s biggest maritime disaster, while Sri Lankan police have launched a criminal investigation into the incident.

Experts last week has been restored data recorder from a burned ship.

The Sri Lankan navy believes the fire was caused by its chemical cargo, which contained more than 22 tonnes of nitric acid and other chemicals, most of which were destroyed by the fire. But rubbish, including burnt fiberglass and tons of plastic balls, has already contaminated nearby beaches.

Tons of microplastic grains flooded the famous beaches of South Asia in Negombo, a popular tourist destination, forcing fishing bans and fearing environmental damage.

According to local media, more than 50 turtles and dolphins have been found on the island since the ship fire on May 20. The country’s top environmental official, Anil Asing Assingen, linked the deaths to the X-Press Pearl on Thursday, but said he was still awaiting final autopsy reports.

A ship seen by the Associated Press said the ship was carrying just under 1,500 containers, 81 of which were described as “dangerous” goods.

The main concern was about 300 tons of bunker oil, which was used as fuel for the ship. But officials say it could have caught fire.

Both the Sri Lankan authorities and the shipowner have stated that there are no signs of an oil spill so far.

The Sri Lankan navy believes the fire was caused by its chemical cargo, which contained more than 22 tonnes of nitric acid and other chemicals. [File: Sri Lanka Navy/AP]





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