Sri Lanka Monsoons Delay Salvage of Sunken Chemical Tanker

Sri Lankan authorities said the salvage of the sinking container ship off its coast will be delayed due to monsoons, as it seeks the help of the United Nations and other countries to assess the damage caused by the ship.

The Singapore-registered MV X-Press Pearl started to sink early this month after it mysteriously caught fire. The ship was carrying 25 tons of nitric acid and authorities ordered its salvage to prevent the risk of further marine pollution. 

“We want the wreck removed yesterday, but salvors can’t start their work in current conditions,” State Minister of Urban Development and Coast Conservation, Nalaka Godahewa told reporters Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, UN Environment Programme experts are now in the country to help assess the damage caused by the ship when it caught fire in May. 

The minister said the government has requested the UN and other nations for help as “expertise within the country isn’t sufficient to accurately calculate the damage.”

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