Sri Lanka testing for oil in waters near stricken cargo ship

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lankan authorities have taken water samples to attempt to decide whether or not a fire-ravaged cargo ship slowly sinking off the coast is leaking oil, officers mentioned Friday.

Results of the assessments taken Thursday by the Marine Environment Protection Authority are nonetheless pending, the nation’s setting minister mentioned.

The assessments had been prompted by satellite tv for pc photographs from Planet Labs Inc. that confirmed a substance that may very well be oil in the water near the Singapore-flagged MV X-Press Pearl, which was devastated by an almost two-week fireplace earlier than it began sinking final week.

The fireplace destroyed many of the ship’s cargo, which included 25 tons of nitric acid and different chemical substances. However, particles together with burned fiberglass and tons of plastic pellets have already polluted close by seashores and there are considerations {that a} spill of remaining chemical substances and oil on the ship might devastate marine life.

The ship’s operator X-Press Feeders mentioned in a press release Thursday night time that “a grey sheen has been observed emanating from the vessel, and water samples are currently being tested.”

Nalaka Godahewa, state minister in cost of coast conservation, mentioned in a tweet Thursday that the satellite tv for pc “imagery could be misleading” and that each the Sri Lankan and Indian navy had confirmed to him that there was no massive oil spill.

The fireplace erupted on May 20 when the ship was anchored about 9.5 nautical miles (18 kilometers) northwest of Colombo and ready to enter the Sri Lanka’s most important port. The navy believes the blaze was attributable to its chemical cargo.

The fireplace burned for 12 days earlier than being extinguished final week. It then began sinking and makes an attempt to tow it into deeper waters failed when the ship’s stern sank to the seabed.

The ship stays partly submerged in waters about 21 meters (70 ft) deep.

A Colombo court docket has banned the ship’s captain, chief engineer and assistant engineer from leaving the nation. The authorities has mentioned it’ll take authorized motion towards the homeowners of the ship to acquire compensation.

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