Environmental damage from X-Press Pearl fire and sinking said to be worse than feared

The damage to Sri Lanka’s marine environment from the fire and subsequent sinking of container ship X Press Pearl (IMO 9875343) in June was worse than feared, with an increasing number of dead turtles, dolphins and whales washing up on Sri Lankan coastline, the local authorities have said.

As of June 24th 130 marine animals had been found dead on Sri Lankan beaches. At least six turtle carcasses washed up along the western coast on June 24th alone. The assertion from the Sri Lankan government is that they were killed by the chemicals and plastics that leaked from containers on the ship.

A shoal of reef fish was dying at Hikkaduwa, a southern tourist resort area known for its rich coral reefs. The carcasses of 115 turtles, 15 dolphins and five whales had been collected. The casualties included a blue whale carcass found off the northern Jaffna Peninsula, about 400km north of Colombo. In this case the officials were awaiting the results of forensic reports.

Around 1,200 tons of tiny plastic pellets and other debris that hit Sri Lankan beaches have been scooped up and are being stored in 45 shipping containers.

2021-built, Singapore-flagged, 31,629 gt X-Press Pearl is owned by Eos Ro Pte Ltd care of manager Sea Consortium Pte Ltd (X-Press Feeders) of Singapore, ISM manager is Eastaway Ship Management Pte. It is entered with London Club on behalf of Killiney Shipping Pte Ltd.