May 26, 2021

Beaches contaminated as debris from distressed ship washed ashore (Pics)

One crew member rescued from the distressed ship MV X-Press Pearl has been tested positive for COVID-19.

Two crew members, both Indian nationals, were rescued from the ship and subsequently hospitalised.

Environmental disaster

Meanwhile, photos of contaminated beaches in Negombo have emerged showing the environmental impact of the fire-gutted vessel.

Speaking to media today (25), the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) said that debris and freight containers that fell into sea from the vessel have washed ashore at the Negombo beach.

“The MEPA officials conducted an investigation this morning (May 26) within the area and found that the beach stretching from Wattala to Negombo was contaminated with plastic pebbles. The contamination is very high and the entire area is affected,” Dharshani Lahandapura, the Chairperson of the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) had said.

These plastic pebbles are raw/ virgin plastic, which is used to manufacture plastic, she had added.

Noting that they cannot contain the oil spill closer to the vessel because of the current weather pattern and the prevailing sea conditions, Lahandapura said the only available option is to conduct a beach clean-up afterward.

Compensation

MEPA is also in the process of collecting evidence to determine the level of pollution caused as a result of the ship, in order to seek compensation.

MEPA has also warned residents in the area not to visit the affected beaches and not to touch the debri washed ashore.

However, media reports showed locals doing exactly the opposite, with some even taking away food items and such which had ended up on the beach.

Police media spokesman - DIG Ajith Rohana had said investigations are underway to identify and locate such people.

Travel advisory for Indians

Meanwhile, the Indian High Commission in Colombo has issued a travel advisory to Indian nationals in Sri Lanka.

'In view of the developments connected with the fire on MV X Press Pearl, Indian nationals currently in Sri Lanka are advised to refrain from going close to the seas off Colombo and Negombo. All Indians in Sri Lanka and planning to travel to Sri Lanka may kindly keep abreast of Covid related restrictions recently imposed by the Government of Sri Lanka. High Commission of India will provide regular updates depending on the situation,' the statement said.

X Press Pearl 001

X Press Pearl 001

X Press Pearl 001

X Press Pearl 001

X Press Pearl 001

X Press Pearl 001

X Press Pearl 001

X Press Pearl 001

X Press Pearl 001

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