WORLD Sri Lanka recovers black box from sinking ship, aborts dive


Sri Lanka recovers black box from sinking ship, aborts dive

Global Times

19:57, June 07, 2021

A vendor wearing a face mask prepares to sell lanterns ahead of the Vesak festival in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on May 19, 2021. The Vesak Festival is one of the holiest festivals celebrated in Sri Lanka as it marks the birth, enlightenment and demise of Lord Buddha. (Photo: Xinhua)

A black box from a container ship sinking off Sri Lanka was recovered but a dive Sunday to check for oil leaks had to be aborted, the navy said.

The Voyage Data Recorder, also known as a maritime "black box," was found intact and is expected to help investigators review procedures and instructions ahead of the accident.

The navy said divers were deployed for a third time Sunday to examine the fuel tanks of the MV X-Press Pearl, but they were unable to carry out their mission due to poor visibility and choppy seas.

However, they did not notice any oil slick in the area, a navy officer told AFP. He said another dive would be attempted when the weather improved.

Sri Lankan authorities hope the black box will provide details of the ship's movements and its communications with the harbor in the capital Colombo, where it had been due to dock.

"The navy facilitated technicians to remove the VDR from the bridge which is still above the waterline," navy spokesman Indika de Silva told AFP.

The Singapore-registered vessel has been slowly sinking into the Indian Ocean since Wednesday after a fire that raged for nearly two weeks within sight of the coast.

The ship, carrying 25 tons of nitric acid and a huge amount of plastic raw materials, was heading to Colombo from Gujarat, India.

Sri Lankan officials have said an acid leak since May 11 may have sparked the blaze. Tons of microplastic granules from the ship swamped an 80-kilometer stretch of beach declared off-limits for residents. Fishing in the area was also banned.

Sri Lankan environmentalists on Friday sued the government and the ship's operators for allegedly failing to prevent what they called the "worst marine disaster" in the country's history.

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