Sri Lanka is facing an ecological disaster after the MV X-Press Pearl container ship caught fire off its coast, sending pollution, tons of plastics, and dangerous chemicals onto its shores. The container ship is still burning after 12 days.
The government opened a criminal investigation into the incident. Tons of plastic pellets which were being transported have already washed ashore and the cost to local marine life could be devastating.
The Russian captain of the ship that caught fire and sank while carrying 25 tons of nitric acid, 275 tons of bunker fuel oil and 50 tons of gas oil, has yet to be charged, but has been barred from leaving the country.
The remains of 176 sea turtles, 20 dolphins and four whales have washed ashore so far.
Crews continue to clean up the countless pieces of tiny pieces of plastic, called “nurdles” that were also spilled from the cargo ship.
Experts fear the event will remain an environmental hazard for decades.