SL probes environmental impact from container ship fire

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Colombo, May 23 (IANS) Sri Lanka’s Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) has launched an investigation into the possible environmental impact from a fire that erupted onboard a container ship in waters near the Colombo port.

The Singapore-flagged vessel, X-PRESS PEARL, carried shipment of nitric acid, and the investigation is intended to see if the incident has caused any damage to the marine environment, Xinhua news agency quoted the MEPA as saying on Saturday.

MEPA Chairperson Dharshani Lahandapura said that working teams had been deployed to reduce the heat in the surrounding area of containers onboard the cargo ship as flames were still visible on top of the containers at the weather deck.

The Sri Lankan Navy said a special team comprising officials from the Navy, Sri Lanka Ports Authority and MEPA reached the location of the fire-hit vessel on Friday and were monitoring the situation further.

A Navy official said teams were working in full swing to contain the fire onboard the cargo ship.

A fast attack craft had also been deployed to assist the ongoing firefighting efforts.

The container ship had been reportedly manned by a crew of 25, who are Philippine, Chinese, Indian and Russian nationals.

–IANS

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