Sri Lanka on Thursday announced an investigation into possible oil slick resulting from the submergence of a container ship. The investigation is focussed on an oil patch of about 0.35 square kilometre (0.13 square miles) located off the island nation’s western coast where container ship MV X-Press Pearl is submerged.
Coast Conservation Minister Nalaka Godahewa said local experts were asked to examine the oil patch
“I visited the area by boat yesterday and what we noticed was a thin film of oil which looked like diesel,” Godahewa told reporters in Colombo.
“It did not look like bunker oil, but we have asked our experts to examine.”
The container ship went underwater after burning for 13 days. Experts in the field have warned that it would be a huge maritime environmental disaster if oil leaks from the container ship.
The owners of the vessel have already deployed representatives from the International Tankers Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) and Oil Spill Response (OSR) to monitor any oil spill and help with the clean-up of beaches.
Sri Lankan minister Godahewa said that five ships were anchored around the sinking vessel.The ships include two Indian Coast Guard vessels equipped to deal with oil spills. Godahewa added that a leakage from the submerged ship has not been reported.
Tonnes of microplastic granules from the ship swamped an 80-kilometre (50-mile) stretch of beach declared off-limits for residents. Fishing in the area has been banned.
(With inputs from agencies)