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Sri Lanka to Investigate Hazardous Materials Aboard Cargo Vessel Collided with Key Baltimore Bridge

During a parliamentary session on Tuesday, Sri Lanka’s State Minister of Environment announced that the country will initiate an investigation into the reported hazardous materials on board the cargo vessel involved in the collision with a crucial Baltimore bridge. The minister emphasized that Sri Lankan authorities have not been officially informed about the contents of the cargo.

The incident occurred when the Singapore-flagged container ship, Dali, predominantly manned by an Indian crew, collided with the 2.6-kilometer-long Francis Scott Key Bridge over the Patapsco River in Baltimore during the early hours of March 26. The 984-foot cargo vessel was en route to Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Reports indicate that the container ship was carrying 764 tonnes of hazardous materials destined for Colombo.

Janaka Wakkumbura, the State Minister of Environment, informed Parliament that the Central Environment Authority had not received any notification regarding hazardous cargo. He further stated that both Sri Lanka Customs and the Colombo Port have been directed to conduct a thorough investigation.

In response to a query from Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa regarding permission granted for unloading cargo at the Colombo port, Wakkumbura clarified that port officials had indicated the vessel’s scheduled arrival in Colombo on April 22. Information regarding its cargo would have only been available 48 hours before its arrival.

Officials from the Central Environment Authority emphasized that their approval was essential even if cargo unloading in Colombo was restricted to transshipment purposes.

The collapse of the bridge has resulted in the suspension of operations at Baltimore’s port, impacting approximately 8,000 jobs and causing an estimated loss of USD 2 million in daily wages for workers, stated US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg last week.

Source: PTI

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