A freighter capsized at Sri Lanka’s main port on Wednesday, raising serious environmental concerns in the island nation as its fuel tanks still hold several hundred tons of oil. The Singapore flag is on this ship. This chemical vessel had recently caught fire. A day after fire teams from India and Sri Lanka arrived aboard the vessel “MV Express Pearl” to rescue and extinguish the blaze after 12 days, the stern of the vessel began to submerge.
Sri Lankan Navy spokesman Indica de Silva said the stern of the ship was sinking. The ship began to sink when rescue teams attempted to bring it ashore for safety reasons. A freighter carrying a cargo of chemicals and cosmetic raw materials from Hazira in Gujarat to the port of Colombo caught fire on May 20 near the port of Colombo. The ship had dropped anchor there.
In addition to the 325 metric tonnes of fuel in its tanks, there were also 1,486 containers containing approximately 25 tonnes of hazardous nitric acid. Sri Lankan conservationists have described it as one of the most severe ecological disasters in the country’s history and warned of a potential threat to marine life and fishing operations.
On May 25, India dispatched ICG Vaibhav, ICG Dornier and Tug Water Lily to help the Sri Lankan Navy put out the blaze. An Indian special vessel “Samudra Prahari” also arrived there on May 29 to fight against pollution. The 25 crew members of the ship were rescued on May 21. Among them were citizens of India, China, the Philippines and Russia.