Environmentalist Dr. Ajantha Perera yesterday questioned why the MV X-Press Pearl vessel that was refused entry into the waters of India and Qatar was given permission by local authorities to enter Sri Lankan waters.
The ship is now engulfed in fire and is in distress off the coast of Colombo. “A ship that arrived in our coastal area is on fire. At this point, about 25 containers of nitrogen in the ship have got burned and mixed with sea water.
Other material including oil and plastic is being washed ashore. International news outlets have reported that the ship is carrying acids which are not properly packed. Unfortunately this ship which was rejected entry by countries like India and Qatar but has arrived in our waters. In order to enter our maritime waters, the authorities of the country have to give permission. It is a question of how a ship carrying such hazardous material came to our sea area” she questioned.
Perera said when nitric acid gets mixed with seawater it would have a harmful impact on all marine life forms.
“No matter how much compensation we receive, it is not enough to restore the damage to our environment. The Environment Ministry should act more responsibly. Procurement of equipment and training of Navy and Maritime Authority officials should be done to prevent such disasters in future” she added.
(Source: Daily News – By Shiromi Abeysinghe and Ariyaratne Ganegoda)