The fire that broke out on a container ship off the coast of Sri Lanka was finally extinguished after 13 days. As the island nation’s navy announced on Tuesday, experts from a Dutch specialist company joined after the firefighting work was completed. They found that large amounts of extinguishing water had penetrated the engine room. The investigation of the wreck has not been completed because some areas are still very hot.
On May 20, shortly before entering the port of Colombo, a fire broke out on the container ship registered in Singapore. Express Pearl transported, among other things, 25 tons of nitric acid and other chemicals as well as 28 containers of plastic granules. In addition, it had 278 tons of heavy oil and 50 tons of special fuel for ships on board.
The fire destroyed many of the 1,500 containers, and several containers with polyethylene granules from the burning ship fell into the sea. Since then, plastic particles have polluted the beaches of Sri Lanka, which are popular with vacationers. The head of the Marine Protection Agency, Darshani Lahandapura, spoke of the “worst marine pollution” she’s ever seen. A ban on hunting has been imposed in the area.
The Sri Lankan police are now investigating the shipping company and the ship’s crew and are demanding compensation from the insurance company of the cargo ship. Interviews for the 25 crew members began on Monday. Investigators suspect that the fire was caused by a leak in a barrel of nitric acid that the captain was aware of a few days ago.