Burning Ship Covers Sri Lankan Beach With Tonnes Of Plastic.

Burning Ship Covers Sri Lankan Beach With Tonnes Of Plastic

Navy personnel with hazmat suits were seen cleaning the popular Negombo beach

Colombo:

Tonnes of charred plastic pellets from a burning container ship washed ashore near Sri Lanka's capital Friday as an international effort to salvage the vessel dragged into a ninth day.

Thick black smoke rose from the Singapore-registered MV X-Press Pearl, anchored just outside Colombo harbour, heightening fears that it could break up spilling its 278 tonnes of bunker oil.

Navy personnel in hazmat suits were sent to clean millions of plastic granules mixed with burned oil and other residue that covered Negombo beach, 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of the capital.

The plastic-covered beach, normally a draw for tourists and known as a fishing centre, was declared off limits. The smoking container ship could be seen on the horizon.

Bulldozers scooped up tonnes of the polythene pellets that came from at least eight containers that fell off the ship on Tuesday.

Officials said the vessel was known to carry at least 28 containers of the pellets that are used as a raw material in the packaging industry.

The fire broke out on May 20 as the ship waited to enter the Colombo port.

It is also carrying 25 tonnes of nitric acid, an unspecified quantity of ethanol and lubricants in its 1,500 containers.

Authorities believe the fire was caused by a nitric acid leak which the crew had been aware of since May 11, Sri Lanka's Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) said.

MEPA chairman Dharshani Lahandapura said the crew could have avoided the disaster had they offloaded the leaking containers or returned them to the port of origin before entering Sri Lankan waters.

Lahandapura said the MEPA is bracing for an oil spill if the X-Press Pearl breaks up as monsoon winds have fanned the flames across the length of the ship.

She said the vessel was carrying 278 tonnes of bunker oil and 50 tonnes of marine gasoil when the fire erupted.

Oil residue and charred containers have already washed ashore at Negombo.

Sri Lanka navy chief Vice Admiral Nishantha Ulugetenne said Thursday it would take days to extinguish the fire, even with the weather improving.

Four Indian vessels have joined Sri Lanka's navy in the battle to contain the fire. Salvage operations are led by the Dutch company SMIT which has sent specialist fire fighting tugs.

The 25-member crew evacuated on Tuesday and two of them suffered minor injuries in the process, the owners of the vessel said on Thursday.

SMIT, renowned salvage troubleshooters, was also involved in dousing the flames on oil tanker which caught fire off Sri Lanka's east coast last September after an engine room explosion that killed a crewman.

The fire on the New Diamond tanker took more than a week to put out and left a 40 kilometre (25 mile) long oil spill. Sri Lanka has demanded the owners pay a $17 million clean-up bill.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV News

NDTV.com provides latest news from India and the world. Get today’s news headlines from Business, Technology, Bollywood, Cricket, videos, photos, live news coverage and exclusive breaking news from India.

https://www.ndtv.com/

Related news
Mozart's music could treat epilepsy seizures

Mozart's music could treat epilepsy seizures

Scientists have discovered listening to Mozart's music could aid in the treatment of epileptic seizures. Research shows listening to a piece of music by Mozart leads to the electrical brainwaves that could lead to seizures being reduced by a third...

Britney Spears set to testify against her father’s conservatorship.

Britney Spears set to testify against her father’s conservatorship.

Northwestern adjunct law professor Andrew Stoltmann discusses what to expect when Britney Spears testifies in court against her father's conservatorship. #FoxNews Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX N...

U.S. commemorates Juneteenth on Saturday

U.S. commemorates Juneteenth on Saturday

This weekend, the nation is commemorating Juneteenth, which marks the end of slavery in Texas in 1865. President Biden signed legislation this week to make it the first new federal holiday in 36 years. CBS News correspondent Christina Ruffini repo...

Record-Setting Diamond Unearthed in Botswana

Record-Setting Diamond Unearthed in Botswana

Botswana’s mineral’s minister is pleased with the discovery of a 1,098 carat diamond after Covid took a toll on the gem industry in the country. The palm-sized diamond is believed to be the third largest gem-quality stone to ever be mined. » Subsc...

Chaos On Lima Street as Dog Goes Loose

Chaos On Lima Street as Dog Goes Loose

Security elements in the Surco district of Lima, Peru, closed down a street to rescue a runaway dog called "Muchi.” Neighbors, drivers and delivery personnel in motorcycles chased after Muchi on an overpass along Benavides Avenue. Muchi could be s...

Acosta awards Carlson 'BS factory employee of the month' distinction.

Acosta awards Carlson 'BS factory employee of the month' distinction.

CNN's Jim Acosta slams Republicans and members of the right-wing media who continue to embrace a false conspiracy theory that claims the FBI orchestrated the Capitol insurrection. #CNN #News