Sri Lanka fears marine disaster after cargo ship explosion.

A cargo ship carrying tonnes of chemicals sank off Sri Lanka’s west coast, its navy said on Wednesday, and tonnes of plastic pellets have fouled the country’s rich fishing waters in one of its worst-ever marine disasters.

The government on Wednesday suspended fishing along an 80km (50 mile) stretch of the island’s coastline, affecting 5,600 fishing boats, and hundreds of soldiers have been deployed to clean affected beaches.

The Singapore-registered MV X-Press Pearl, carrying 1,486 containers, including 25 tonnes of nitric acid along with other chemicals and cosmetics, was anchored off Sri Lanka’s west coast when a fire erupted onboard after an explosion on May 20th.

Flaming containers laden with chemicals tumbled into the sea from the ship’s deck as emergency crews sought to contain the blaze over the ensuing two weeks.

The Singapore-registered container ship MV X-Press Pearl as it is towed away from the coast of Colombo. Photograph: Sri Lanka Air Force/AFP via Getty Images

The Singapore-registered container ship MV X-Press Pearl as it is towed away from the coast of Colombo. Photograph: Sri Lanka Air Force/AFP via Getty Images

The ship began to sink early on Wednesday, and a salvage crew tried to tow the vessel to deeper water away from the coast, fisheries minister Kanchana Wijesekera said in a tweet, but the attempt was abandoned after several hours.

“The towing of the fire-engulfed X-Press Pearl ship was stopped due to the rear end of the vessel hitting the sea bed,” navy spokesman Capt Indika de Silva told Reuters.

Photos taken by the country’s air force showed the charred wreck of the ship spewing white smoke as it listed to the right and began sinking, and part of it soon touched the seabed, just 22m (73ft) deep in the immediate area.

The navy was preparing to deal with an oil spill after the ship sank, Capt Silva added.

“The ship has dealt a death blow to our lives,” said Joshua Anthony, head of a region fishing union. “We can’t go into the sea which means we can’t make a living.”

The MV X-Press Pearl had left the port of Hazira in India on May 15th and was on its way to Singapore via Colombo. – Reuters

The Irish Times

The Irish Times online. Latest news including sport, analysis, business, weather and more from the definitive brand of quality news in Ireland.

https://www.irishtimes.com/

For Juneteenth, Obama reflects on future of democracy and bridging the divide.

For Juneteenth, Obama reflects on future of democracy and bridging the divide.

Former President Barack Obama acknowledged a political divide but said he hopes for unity. He said that the next generation has the responsibility to further equality for all.

Boris Johnson reflects on 'peculiar and bizarre' Chesham and Amersham by-election defeat.

Boris Johnson reflects on 'peculiar and bizarre' Chesham and Amersham by-election defeat.

Boris Johnson said he believed in “uniting and levelling up” across the country when asked if the Chesham and Amersham by-election loss was a sign the “Blue Wall” in the South was being neglected for voters in the North. From Brexit breaking news ...

Leo Terrell sounds off on Stacey Abrams' latest voter ID comments.

Leo Terrell sounds off on Stacey Abrams' latest voter ID comments.

Civil rights attorney Leo Terrell and former Trump speechwriter Stephen Miller join 'Hannity'. #FoxNews #Hannity Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing ne...

Iran election: Hardliner Raisi sweeps to victory amid low turnout - DW News.

Iran election: Hardliner Raisi sweeps to victory amid low turnout - DW News.

A hardline cleric has swept to victory in Iran's presidential election. Officials say Ebrahim Raisi has won nearly two thirds of the vote. The only moderate candidate has already conceded. Raisi is a harsh critic of the West. The US has sanctioned...

Obama-era economic adviser forcefully speaking out against Biden spending plan.

Obama-era economic adviser forcefully speaking out against Biden spending plan.

Fox News' Kevin Corke reports that Larry Summers blasted the plan as 'the least responsible economic policy he's seen in 40 years.' #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a...

Northern Ireland: A crisis within Unionism?

Northern Ireland: A crisis within Unionism?

Unionists in Northern Ireland say that they feel betrayed by the Prime Minister thanks to Brexit, and the protocol that places a border down the Irish sea. It is feared that violence could return of the province, with the perception that Republica...