Oil spill in Sri Lanka
The X-Press Pearl, a container vessel from Singapore, has sunk off the coast of Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan authorities are now preparing for an expected oil spill.
The X-Press Pearl was at anchor at the port of Colombo, when a fire started aboard on 20 May. The crew were evacuated and the vessel was on fire for 13 days before it was extinguished. During this time, containers from the X-Press Pearl spilled into the ocean, washing up on beaches along Sri Lanka's western coast. Many of the containers were filled with plastic pellets used for producing shopping bags.
Attempts were made to tow the X-Press Pearl further away from the coast but it was confirmed on 4 June that the rear sectin of the vessel had sunk and settled on the seabed. Options to refloat the vessel and move it further away are being considered, but poor weather and rough conditions at sea are making assessments difficult.
The vessel contained approximately 350 tonnes of oil in total, which is expected to cause extensive damage to Sri Lanka's marine ecosystem if an oil spill occurs.
The Marine Environment Protection Authority is readying oil dispersants, booms, and skimmers in the event that an oil spill is detected.
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|ADRC on behalf of Disaster Management Center
|Disaster Management Centre, Sri Lanka
Possible oil detected - Marine pollution surveillance report
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