Ever since 3rd June, when MV Xpress Pearl started to sink, experts are predicting a major environmental damage awaits to strike Sri Lanka.
The containership, which burned for 12 days, before it finally began to sink, was carrying approximately 25 tons of nitric acid, harmful chemicals, plastic pellets and other such cargo onboard.
Previous Updates: 1. X-Press Pearl: Vessel On Verge of Sinking – June 2 Update, 2. X-Press Pearl Container Ship – May 31st Update
These harmful cargo, in addition to the bunker oil, carried by the vessel, has the potential to devastate the marine life and pollute the island nation’s beaches.
On 3rd June, several tons of plastic pellets washed ashore in the coast, from the fire damaged ship. Experts fear that these huge amount of plastic debris will forever persist in the marine environment forever, as they are non-biodegradable.
The Sri Lankan government has banned fishing along about 50 miles (80 kilometers) of coastline. The captain, chief engineer and the assistant engineer has been banned from leaving the country, and the government will proceed legally with the ship-owner, seeking compensation claims, for the damage caused.
The Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) of the ship, is still missing, and is yet to be found. A VDR is as important to a ship, as a Black Box is, to an airplane!