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Sri Lankan Government Launches Probe into Container Ship Collision in U.S.

April 03, Colombo (LNW): The Environment State Minister, Janaka Wakkumbura, assured Parliament yesterday of a comprehensive investigation into whether proper permissions were obtained for transporting hazardous cargo aboard the container ship that collided with Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge in America en route to Sri Lanka.

Wakkumbura stated that the Central Environment Authority had not been notified of the ship’s arrival, raising concerns about its cargo.

Responding to inquiries from MP Prof. Charitha Herath and Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa, Wakkumbura disclosed that the vessel, named Dali, was carrying containers filled with harmful toxic substances, prompting a special investigation.

He stressed the urgency of the situation, stating, “We have already informed the Sri Lanka Customs and the Colombo Port to conduct investigations immediately in this regard.” He further emphasized the necessity of a formal inquiry, promising to keep Parliament updated on its progress.

MP Prof. Charitha Herath expressed alarm over the revelation that 764 out of 4,644 containers on the ship contained dangerous toxins. He highlighted past crises and called attention to Sri Lanka’s adherence to the Basel Convention since 1992, which mandates notification of hazardous waste shipments passing through its ports. The failure to inform the Central Environment Authority of the ship’s arrival raised serious concerns.

Warning of the potential harm to the country, Herath urged decisive action from the authorities before the ship’s anticipated arrival between April 15 and 17. He raised suspicions regarding the multinational company acting as the ship’s Sri Lankan agent, suggesting a need for preemptive measures.

The government faces mounting pressure to address the situation swiftly and effectively to mitigate potential environmental and public health risks.

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