fishermen fear chemical leaks when shipwreck
According to Cnathambi, a co-ordinator of the traditional fishermen’s association, unusual bubbles and allegations of pollution have been washed away on the beach in the past two days, in the Pamban-Gulf of Mannar region.
Chennai: Fishermen in the Rameswaram district in the Tamil Nadu district of Ramanathapuram have reported a foul-smelling foam and what appears to be contaminated coastal waters. Foam and dirty water-soluble mixtures are visible in photos and videos. Fishermen in the region suspect that it may be related to the X-Press Pearl shipwreck off the coast of Sri Lanka in February.
According to Cnathambi, a co-ordinator of the traditional fishermen’s association, unusual bubbles and allegations of pollution have been washed away on the beach in the past two days, in the Pamban-Gulf of Mannar region. He added that such foam is still dispersed at about 50-100 meters in seawater and travels a few miles along the coast.
When asked if this was a common stumbling block during the stormy sea, he told Zee Media that there was what appeared to be pieces of plastic washing on the beach. He said the fishing community was nervous about these people who were suspected of polluting the air, which did not appear to have any weather-related foam.
The initial suspicion of the fishing community points to the MV X-Press Pearl, which sank off the coast of Sri Lankan (between Colombo and Negombo), despite successful efforts to combat the fire by Indian Coast Guard officials and Sri Lankan authorities. Anxiety remains with the content of its containers and the environmental impact it can have on the region.
There were several reports of tons of plastic bags cleaned on the Sri Lankan coast, without the long-term impact o chemicals carried hundreds of miles due to wind, sea currents etc.
At the time of the fire, the container ship was carrying 1486 containers containing chemical cargo, which was classified under the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG). The ship caught fire in the last week of May and sank in the first week of June. Among other chemicals, IMDG products included highly vibrating Nitric Acid beads, Methanol, Methyl Acetate, Sodium Hydroxide beads and Polystyrene. It should be noted that the distance between Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and the submarine area (away from Sri Lanka) is not 240 km.