INTERPOL aware of two mercury-laden vessels : Prof. Chandima

INTERPOL aware of two mercury-laden vessels : Prof. Chandima

INTERPOL aware of two mercury-laden vessels : Prof. Chandima

Written by Staff Writer

30 May, 2021 | 8:45 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): Professor Chandima Wijegunawardana of the Princess Nourah University in Riyadh has said that the INTERPOL had been aware of the presence of two mercury-laden vessels in the Indian Ocean.

“That vessel is carrying more than 15,000 barrels and containers comprising mercury and oil mixed with other chemicals,” Wijegunawardena said.

“The INTERPOL had informed Pakistan about this. Bangladesh and India had also been apprised on this. That begs the question; wasn’t Sri Lanka informed about this?”

She pointed out that there is no information on whether the X-Press Pearl vessel contains mercury as well.

“Who allowed such hazardous material to enter our waters?” the professor questioned. “I wish to question whether we are being governed by a government that can cause the highest possible damage to the country.”

According to the information portal set up by MTI network which represents the operators of the vessel, the vessel had been carrying 1,486 containers in total along with 25 tons of Nitric Acid, 297 tonnes of heavy fuel oil and 81 Dangerous Goods Containers.

News 1st inquired from the Director-General of the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Regulatory Council, Anil Ranjith if the vessel was carrying radioactive material within its consignment of dangerous cargo.

Responding to the query, the Director-General said he had received confirmation from the Sri Lanka Ports Authority on the non-existence of radioactive material.

“We urge the Ports Authority to make all documents including the ship’s manifest public,” Environmentalist Nayanaka Ranwella said.

“Obtain the black box and reveal all conversations to the nation. Failing to do so will lead up to believe the Government is also surreptitiously responsible for this tragedy”.

Convening a media briefing, Dr. Ajantha Perera, who holds a doctorate in environmental science, said that the environmental impact caused due to the fire on the vessel cannot be disregarded.

She pointed out that Sri Lanka’s sensitive coastal region has already suffered massive damages as a result of the incident.

“The nitric acid that had spilt into the seas is so powerful that it would have dissolved the flesh of all the creatures in the area,” Dr. Perera noted.

“Nitric acid also has the impact of dissolving calcium carbonate. This will have an impact on the corals and cause it to dissolve as well”.

Fishing communities are bearing the brunt of the detrimental effects of the blaze onboard the X-Press Pearl.

Fishermen in several coastal areas including Munnakkaraya, Chilaw, Marawila and Muthupanthiya now face one common issue.

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