Carcasses Wash Up Near Singapore Ship Fire In Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has sued the owners of Singapore-flagged vessel – MV X-Press Pearl – for burning in its waters for 11 days and causing marine pollution.
However, evidence of a far-reaching maritime hazard began to surface when tens of dead sea animals washed up ashore.
Sri Lankan authorities are investigating the link between the sea animal carcasses and the burning of the cargo ship.
36 sea animal carcasses wash ashore in Sri Lanka
On Wednesday (16 Jun), 5 dolphins and 31 sea turtles washed ashore along the western coast of Sri Lanka, reports Yahoo News.
A washed-up sea turtle carcass
Not far off in the waters was where Singapore’s MV X-Press Pearl – carrying tonnes of chemicals and plastic pellets – went up in flames.
The cargo ship burned for 11 days before sinking, sparking concerns of oil and chemical spill.
From as early as 31 May, reports have sighted deep-sea fish with burn injuries or plastic pellets on their gills turning up dead ashore.
A washed-up dolphin carcass
In a tweet dated 7 Jun, the Sri Lankan Navy posted a video of their operations cleaning heaps of plastic debris from the sunken MV X-Press Pearl.
#srilanka_navy continuing dedicated beach cleaning drives in affected coastline to remove debris and plastic material originating from #MVXPressPearl. #lka #SriLanka #defence #beachcleaning pic.twitter.com/vmQ0zC1QBz
— The Sri Lanka Navy (@srilanka_navy) June 7, 2021
Cause of deaths under investigation
The part of the Indian Ocean off the Colombo port – where the ship went ablaze – is home to diverse marine life.
They include blue and humpback whales, spotted dolphins, sea turtles and whitetip sharks, reports The Straits Times (ST).
As such, Sri Lanka’s Department of Wildlife Conservation is urgently studying samples from the carcasses to find out their causes of death.
A washed-up striped dolphin carcass
Speaking to ST, a Colombo-based biologist points to 2 possible reasons behind the marine creatures’ unnatural death.
It could either be a spill of toxic chemicals or vibrations from the explosions on board the cargo ship, Dr Ranil Nanayakkara conjectures.
He’s ruled out nitric acid as it’s apparently not potent enough to kill animals.
Devastating loss of biodiversity
Apart from financial losses, the fire originating from the Singapore-registered cargo ship led to environmental catastrophe.
The unnatural deaths of precious sea animals are a heart-wrenching sight to behold.
We mourn the losses of marine biodiversity, and hope investigations can shed more light on their causes of death.
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