Earlier last month, a cargo ship carrying chemicals caught fire off the coast of Sri Lanka, causing a blaze that went on for almost two weeks . But though the flames have now been doused – the ship has left behind an environmental disaster that the island will likely have to live with for decades.
The X-Press Pearl is lying half sunken off the coast of Sri Lanka. Images of the ship burning for days have gone around the world but now the vessel has basically sunk, the hull resting on the shallow ocean bed.
The unlucky ship had towers of containers stacked upon each other, many containing chemicals highly dangerous to the environment.
Tons of tiny plastic pellets have already washed up on the local beach nearby. And then there’s the hundreds of tonnes of engine fuel sealed in the sunken hull – that could potentially leak into the sea.
Aside from the environmental threats, there are also devastating consequences for the local communities, fishermen who overnight lost their livelihoods and will likely suffer for years to come.