Oil Spill from Sunken Cargo Ship Contained Off Sri Lanka

Published Aug 27, 2012 9:31 AM by The Maritime Executive

An oil slick from a sunken cargo vessel has been contained on Sunday and no longer poses a threat to popular beach resorts for foreign tourists, according to Sri Lankan officials.

On Thursday night, the rusted ship sunk in a battle against extreme weather conditions near a Colombo harbor. The spill was estimated at six miles long and endangered a 30-mile expanse of coastline. It did reach the shores of Colombo – the country’s capital.

An official with the Coast Conservation Department confirmed that the leak has been contained and chemicals are being used to eliminate what did get out. Although the environmental impact is less than originally anticipated, authorities still encourage vigilance for the following days. Volunteers had removed thin layers of furnace oil that washed ashore in various places around the capital over the weekend.

The MV Thermopylae Sierra, a Cyprus-flagged cargo carrier, had been outside the Colombo harbor since 2009 following a disagreement over its cargo of steel. The vessel had been detained by Sri Lankan courts following litigation over the cargo valued at over $300 million.

Experts say that the vessel can now only be salvaged in January 2013 due to rough sea condition now. Marine authorities had already previously warned of the possible sinking due to water leakage into the ship, which could have been prevented.

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