Sea turtle deaths reported near Colombo in recent weeks were caused by fire and pollution from wreckage of the boxship X-Press Pearl, according to the Sri Lankan government.
“A large number of sea creatures in the ocean died as a result of the fire on board [X-Press Pearl]Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry of Wildlife and Conservation Minister CB Rathnayake said speaking to The Nation. Acid burns were visible on dead sea turtles. ”
X-Press Pearl was carrying around 80 containers of dangerous goods, according to the AP, including a 25-ton batch of nitric acid. The cargo of acid was leaking for more than a week before it arrived off Colombo, and investigators believe this may have caused the fire that ultimately led to its sinking.
After X-Press Pearl sank, the Department of Wildlife was tasked with assessing the large number of deceased turtles that began to wash up near the wreckage site. Nearly 100 turtle carcasses have been recovered so far, many showing signs of throat and shell damage, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. To determine the cause, the ministry contacted Peradeniya University, Ragama University Hospital and technical assistance partners in Singapore. âThe investigation reports will be made public as soon as possible,â said Minister Rathnayake.
A dozen dead dolphins and a dead whale have also been found, and autopsies are underway to determine the cause of death.
The country’s justice ministry is conducting a separate investigation into the circumstances of the sinking and has set up five sub-committees to track the threads – one each for matters of insurance, fishing, environment, economy and legal issues. He has already filed an initial claim for $ 40 million against X-Press Pearl’s owner for the first firefighting intervention, excluding damage related to the sinking or subsequent pollution.
Separately, two fishermen have filed a petition with the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka to seek compensation for all fishing communities affected by the X-Press Pearl disaster. About 7,700 fishing families lost income due to the closure of the fishery after the shipwreck, and another 2,100 families in coastal elements of the seafood value chain also saw their source of income decline. They are requesting assistance totaling $ 2,500 per family under Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Act.