The sinking of an oil tanker in Sri Lanka raises fears of an ecological disaster

The ship carrying chemicals caught fire in mid-June off the coast of Sri Lanka, beginning to sink, raising fears of an oil spill with catastrophic consequences for the island nation´s marine environment.

The ship was carrying 1,500 containers loaded with nitric acid and other chemicals. Authorities are taking steps to protect the nearby Negombo Lagoon and surrounding coastal areas from the possibility of an oil spill.

The fire on the Singapore-flagged vessel started almost two weeks ago when it was en route to Colombo. Authorities have since tried to extinguish the flames, although the operation has been complicated by strong winds associated with the monsoon and the recent passage through India by a cyclone.

The incident has spilled plastic waste on part of Sri Lanka´s west coast, sparking fears of one of the worst spills in the island´s history.

Finally, it is the second fire on a boat in recent months off the coast of Sri Lanka, after a similar incident last September at the New Diamond tanker, which caused an oil spill.

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