How The Cargo Ship Fire In Sri Lanka Turned Into An Environmental Disaster

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The cargo ship that caught fire in a sinking off the coast of Sri Lanka has turned into an environmental disaster. ecologist worry oil and other dangerous goods are leaking into the Indian Ocean killing marine life. Tiny plastic pellets fell overboard blanketing the country’s Western beaches. They’re called nurdles and billions of them now cover Sri Lanka’s coastline after the Express pearl began to sink. we decode it how a fire on the container ship is on track to become the worst ecological disaster in Sri Lanka’s history. The 610 foot Express pearl caught fire on May 21 off the coast of Colombo, one of the capitals of Sri Lanka. It was leaving the airport in India for Singapore. crew members evacuated after an explosion on the ship sounded alarms. As the ship sinks, so do 25 metric tonnes of nitric acid 78 metric tons of nurdles plus cosmetics and other chemicals. It was also carrying over 350 metric tons of fuel. Sri Lankan officials believe the fire was caused by chemical reaction after nitric acid leaked inside one of the containers though an investigation is still underway. Express feeder says it had planned to offload the leaking container once it was discovered, but no specialists were available to help. Firefighters spent days trying to put out the flames. Now that the fire has mostly died out the ship sinking is the country’s biggest concern. Efforts to tow the ship toward deeper waters failed. It’s currently about 70 feet below sea level. The ship was carrying over 1000 containers like this now incinerated one washed up on the shoreline.

The government has already banned fishing along the coastline affecting about 5600 boats. The fire has polluted fish breeding sites and mangroves around the gumbo region about 20 miles northwest of the site. Local reports say dead marine life has begun washing ashore. The fish ingest the plastic pellets, then they either die or contaminate the rest of the food chain. The pollution poses an immediate problem for Sri Lanka where fish are the main source of protein. Cleaning crews in full white gear began sweeping up the plastic granules shortly after the ship caught fire. Because the pellets can absorb chemicals from the ship. They’re being dumped at a nearby hazardous waste yard. This isn’t the first major shipping incident around Sri Lanka. The country sits along the busy international route since 1994. There have been 20 major incidents like this more than half occurring in the last five years.

Retrospectively, view how the fire outbreak started here


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