Police detain a number of people who collected debris from ship

The Police have detained a number of people who collected debris from the ship which was destroyed in a fire in Sri Lankan waters.

Police Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Ajith Rohana said that the suspects were arrested using visuals and photographs appearing on social media as well as images obtained by the Police.

The Police said that the suspects were arrested for violating the quarantine laws by leaving their homes and since they pose a threat to others by collecting hazardous materiel.

DIG Ajith Rohana said that two suspects were arrested in Dungalpitiya while a lorry in which some of the debris from the ship were being transported, was also seized.

He said another three suspects were arrested in Pamunugama and three others were arrested in Kochchikade.

Several items from the MV X-Press Pearl washed ashore in parts of Negombo yesterday (Wednesday).

Fishermen and others were seen is some areas collecting the items washed ashore.

The Police had later launched an investigation to locate the people who collected the debris.

Assistant Director of the Disaster Management Centre (DMC) Pradeep Kodippili had said earlier that the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) had requested the public to refrain from touching or opening the packages from the ship.

He said MEPA has urged the public to inform the Police, military or contact the DMC hotline on 117 if they come across any of the toxic material or debris.

Kodipilli said containers consisting of chemical material had fallen into the sea after a fire had reignited on the vessel due to an explosion.

“It is reported that 37,000 tons of chemicals in 14 containers were being transported by the ship,” he said.

The vessel had first appealed for help on Friday (21) after a fire had broken out due to an explosion as a result of a chemical reaction.

The Sri Lanka Navy together with the Ports Authority had launched an operation to contain the fire and tug the vessel further away from Sri Lanka.

Twenty-five crew members were rescued from the vessel, while two Indian nationals among them were hospitalised after sustaining serious injuries. (Colombo Gazette)

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