In the first phase, Sri Lanka will claim $40 million (33 million euros) in compensation from the owner of the cargo ship that burned off the country’s coast.
Sri Lankan Minister for Competent Rohitha Abigunawardena announced on Saturday that preliminary proceedings have been initiated against the owner of the Singapore-registered vessel MV X-Press Pearl immatriculé.
The container ship in question usually sails from India to Singapore. However, during the storm, a chemical leaked from one of the containers, causing a chemical reaction and a severe fire. On June 2, it sank off the coast of Colombo after blazing for nearly two weeks. The ship was loaded with 1,486 containers with 25 tons of various chemicals, including nitric acid, as well as microplastics for the production of plastics and cosmetics.
1200 tons of plastic pellets
Environmental authorities in the island nation are calling it the “biggest marine environmental disaster” in years. Hundreds of dead fish and other marine creatures have been found off the coast in recent days, as well as many microplastics. A total of 1,200 tons of plastic pellets and other waste have already been collected on the beaches, but that would only represent half of all that was washed ashore.
Fortunately, the fuel is still on board. Previously, oil and green spots in the water around the boat were an additional concern due to more serious environmental damage, but it is possible that the spots came from chemicals leached into the containers.
On Monday, a Sri Lankan court ruled that the navy must monitor the ship until all investigations are completed.
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