Insane World

IN PICTURES: Sri Lanka braces for it’s worst ever marine disaster

An environmental disaster off the coast of Sri Lanka got worse after a large container ship carrying chemicals and plastic caught fire, sank and could now begin an ‘almost inevitable’ oil spill making it one of Sri Lanka’s worst-ever marine disasters.

The MV X-Press Pearl has nearly 350 tonnes of oil in its fuel tanks.

Navy spokesman Indika de Silva said there has been no oil leak from the ship yet. “But arrangements are in place to deal with a possible spill which is the worst-case scenario,” he said.

An Indian coastguard vessel already in the area has the equipment to deal with an oil slick before it could reach the beaches, according to the Sri Lankan navy, which has requested additional assistance.

Smoke billows from the Singapore-registered container ship MV X-Press Pearl (Image: AFP)
Sri Lankan Navy soldiers work to remove damaged containers that washed ashore from the burning cargo vessel (Image: PA)
Sri Lankan navy members pull a sack with debris washed off to a beach from the MV X-Press Pear (Image: Reuters)
Sri Lanka Air Force personnel collect and clear debris that washed onto the beach from damaged containers on the burning cargo vessel MV X-Press Pearl. (Image: EPA)
The blaze has destroyed most of the ship’s cargo. Some containers tumbled into the sea, polluting surrounding waters and a long stretch of the island nation’s famed beaches (Image: AFP)
There are fears that hundreds of tonnes of oil from the vessel’s fuel tanks could also leak into the sea if it sinks, devastating nearby marine life. (Image: EPA)
The fire-gutted and crippled Singapore-registered container cargo vessel, MV X-Press Pear (Image: Sri Lankan Air Force)