Pressure grows on IMO to reclassify plastic pellets as hazardous substances

One topic for debate at next week’s 77th gathering of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 77) at the International Maritime Organization, will see Sri Lanka and a number of NGOs push to get plastic pellets reclassified as hazardous substances. Sri Lanka is still reeling from this year’s X-Press Pearl (IMO 9875343)incident, when on May 25th the burning container ship spilt 1,680 tonnes of plastic pellets, 9,700 tonnes of other plastics and toxic pollutants a mere nine miles off the Sri Lankan coast. Plastic was reported to still be accumulating on many kilometres of beaches, and Sri Lanka has described the event as the worst marine environmental disaster in Sri Lanka’s history. It was also reported to be the single largest plastic pellet pollution event the world has ever seen. About a third of the spilt plastic pallets so far have been collected by clean-up teams.

Christina Dixon, deputy ocean campaign Leader from the NGO Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) commented: “Although plastics from sea-based sources account for roughly 20% of plastic pollution, the pace of action to prevent plastic pollution from ships at the international level is sorely lacking. 

Shanghai Salvage along with Resolve Marine have recently been appointed to remove the wreck of the burnt boxship which lies in shallow waters off Sri Lanka.

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.