Sri Lankan authorities were on Friday battling a possibility of toxic precipitation of acid rain due to the burning of the X-Press Pearl ship that has been on fire since last week and has sparked fears of extensive marine pollution.
Fortunately, All 25 members on board the ship - consisting of crew from India, China, the Philippines, and Russia - were rescued on Tuesday after a 'fire alarm' dispatch was sent.
The cargo vessel - MV 'X-PRESS PEARL' - was carrying a consignment of chemicals and raw materials for cosmetics from Hazira in Gujarat to Colombo Port. It caught fire 9.5 nautical miles from the coast in Colombo, where it was anchored outside the Port of Colombo on May 20.
Apart from the 325 metric tonnes of fuel in its tanks, MV X-Press Pearl was loaded with 1,486 containers carrying about 25 tonnes of hazardous nitric acid, reports NDTV.
"We observed that the emission of Nitrogen Dioxide from the MV X-PRESS PEARL was massive. With the emission of Nitrogen Dioxide gas in the rainy season, there could be slight acid rains," Dharshani Lahandapura, Chairperson of Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA), was quoted as saying by news website newsfirst.lk on Friday.
India on Tuesday dispatched ICG Vaibhav, ICG Dornier, and Tug Water Lilly to help the Sri Lankan Navy extinguish the fire on the container ship. India's specialised pollution response vessel Samudra Prahari will reach on Saturday to augment pollution control efforts, the Colombo Gazette reported on Friday.
Meanwhile, Navy Commander Nishantha Ulugetenne on Friday said there is no threat of the vessel breaking into two and the ship is now largely stable.