200+ marine animals died due to marine pollution caused by X-Press Pearl

200+ marine animals died due to marine pollution caused by X-Press Pearl

200+ marine animals died due to marine pollution caused by X-Press Pearl

Written by Zulfick Farzan

30 Jun, 2021 | 5:54 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st); Sri Lanka’s Attorney General’s Department told the Colombo Magistrate’s Court that over 200 marine animals died following the X-Press Pearl disaster due to marine pollution caused by chemicals in the sea area and NOT due to natural reasons as mentioned by some.

Deputy Solicitor General Madhawa Tennakoon appearing for the Attorney General told the court that the reason for the deaths of 176 sea turtles, 20 dolphins, and 04 whales were confirmed by a committee comprising of 39 experts.

Further, the Deputy Solicitor General told the court that the autopsy carried out on the dead marine animals confirmed that the cause of death was chemicals from the X-Press Pearl contaminating the seawater.

He reiterated to the court that three representatives of the local agent of the shipping company had deleted emails they received from the master of the vessel.

The Colombo Magistrate’s Court was told that detectives are conducting investigations on the photographs obtained from the mobile devices of the captain and crew of the X-Press Pearl as well as other material.

If they are found to have committed an offense, legal action will be instituted against them, said Deputy Solicitor General Madhawa Tennakoon.

He also told the court that investigations have revealed that the Captain, local representative of the shipping company, the shipping operator had concealed the truth about the situation onboard the vessel from Sri Lankan authorities.

The Colombo Magistrate’s Court ordered the prosecution to report to the court on the progress of the investigations on the 13th of July.

On May 20, 2021, Singapore -flagged Containership, ‘X-Press Pearl’ reported smoke from the cargo hold while at Colombo anchorage, Sri Lanka.

On May 21, the vessel reported fire on deck. Firefighting tugs were deployed by the port authority and a helicopter providing support to help fight the fire. The ship’s crew assisted with boundary cooling of the area.

On May 22, the sound of an explosion was heard in cargo hold #2.

12 crew members disembarked from the vessel on May 23 to make way for a 12-person firefighting team. The firefighting team continued the operation in conjunction with water spraying tugs on site.

By May 24, the fire had intensified and was spreading toward the aft of the vessel.

A further and louder explosion was heard on May 25, and as a prudent measure, it was decided to evacuate all 13 crew and the firefighting team of 12.

Firefighting tugs were operating on-site throughout May 26, with the assistance of Sri Lankan Navy helicopters and vessels and two Indian Coastguard vessels.

Despite salvors subsequently boarding the vessel on June 2 and attaching a tow wire, efforts to move the ship to deeper waters failed, and the ship’s aft portion sank to the bottom at a depth of 21 meters.

The X-Press Pearl is now a wreck after the ship sank in the seas off Colombo.

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