Sri Lanka Sued Over Ship Disaster As Possible Oil Spill Looms
Faizan Hashmi 18 days ago Fri 04th June 2021 | 08:47 PM
Environmentalists on Friday sued the Sri Lankan government and operators of a container ship loaded with chemicals and plastic that burned offshore for almost two weeks, as international experts prepared to deal with a possible oil spill
Colombo, June 4 (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 4th Jun, 2021 ) :Environmentalists on Friday sued the Sri Lankan government and operators of a container ship loaded with chemicals and plastic that burned offshore for almost two weeks, as international experts prepared to deal with a possible oil spill.
The private Centre for Environment Justice (CEJ) petitioned the Supreme Court alleging that local authorities should have been able to prevent what they called the "worst marine disaster" in Sri Lanka's history.
Tonnes of microplastic granules from the ship have swamped an 80-kilometre (50-mile) stretch of beach which has been declared off limits for residents. Fishing in the area was also banned.
It said the crew knew of an acid leak on May 11, long before entering Sri Lankan waters, and local authorities should not have allowed the vessel in.
"They continue to coordinate with MEPA (the Marine Environment Protection Authority) and the Sri Lankan navy on an established plan to deal with any possible spill of oil and other pollutants," the Singaporean company said.
Its chief executive, Shmuel Yoskovitz, apologised to Sri Lanka for the disaster.
"I'd like to express my deep regrets and apologies to the Sri Lankan people for the harm this incident has caused to the livelihood and to the environment of Sri Lanka," Yoskovitz told Channel news Asia.
He said a team reached the sinking vessel and made a cursory inspection on Thursday, but could not carry out their mission because of poor visibility.
Sri Lanka's Harbour Master Nirmal Silva told AFP Friday that no oil had leaked 48 hours after the stern submerged.
The vessel was carrying 81 containers of "dangerous cargo" including acids and lead ingots.
Sri Lankan authorities believe the fire was caused by a nitric acid leak which the crew apparently knew about nine days before the blaze started.