Written by Zulfick Farzan
26 May, 2021 | 5:48 pm
Colombo (News 1st); Sri Lanka Air Force dropped 850 kilograms of Dry Chemical Powder on two separate occasions onto the MV X-Press Pearl using a Bell 212 Helicopter on Wednesday (26) in an attempt to contain the fire.
Sri Lanka Air Force using its drones had observed the manner in which debris washed ashore from Uswetakeiyyawa to Negombo.
Sri Lanka Police launched an investigation to locate and arrest individuals who violated quarantine regulations to collect debris from a blazing container ship.
Police Spokesperson DIG Ajith Rohana speaking to News 1st said information was received about people rushing to the beaches of Pamunugama, Dungalpitiya, Kochchikade, and Negombo Police areas to collect debris.
“Some people have taken away certain items that had washed ashore,” he said.
Police Spokesperson DIG Ajith Rohana stressed if anyone visited the beach area, it is considered as a violation of the quarantine regulations and they will be arrested and prosecuted.
Sri Lankan authorities issued a strong warning to the general public to refrain from coming into contact with any debris that washes up on Sri Lanka’s western coast following a massive inferno aboard the container ship named the MV X-PRESS PEARL.
Reports on Wednesday (26) morning noted that people in many areas had rushed to the coastal belt to pick up debris from the blazing ship.
The fire that broke out in the forecastle area of the MV X-PRESS PEARL, a container ship anchored 9.5 nautical miles northwest of the Port of Colombo, has now extended to the quarterdeck where the bridge is stationed.
Further, it is observed that the containers and various parts that are falling overboard the distressed ship wash ashore.
Therefore, the general public and fishing community are cautioned not to get in touch with such elements as they could carry harmful chemicals.
“Our advice to the general public and community in the close proximity is NOT to touch anything and NOT to take anything home, because some of these containers may contain highly toxic material hazardous to human health and the environment. DON’T go closer to it or open anything. Also, DON’T take anything because all these are properties of the Secretariat of Merchant Shipping and it is an offense to take anything. We do NOT know what is there; there maybe germs, contaminated things, and especially chemicals that are highly toxic. So do NOT take anything from the debris that had grounded from the X-PRESS PEARL,” Dharshani Lahandapura, the Chairperson of the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) advised the people.
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