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Sri Lanka unaware of ship carrying toxic wastes from the US

2 April 2024 06:48 am - 28     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Colombo, April 2 (Daily Mirror) - Sri Lanka is not yet aware of the nature of hazardous materials in the Singapore cargo ship Dali chartered by Maersk, which crashed into the Baltimore, US bridge on March 26, carrying 764 tons of hazardous materials as reported by the US media, an official said.

According to information available, there are 57 containers with such toxic materials that can be categorized under the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code.

The waste included mostly corrosives, flammables, miscellaneous hazardous materials, and Class-9 hazardous materials, including explosives & lithium-ion batteries – in 56 containers. So says the US National Transportation Safety Board, still ‘analyzing the ship’s manifest to determine what was onboard’ in its other 4,644 containers.

Prior to Baltimore, the Dali called at New York and Norfolk, Virginia, which has the world’s largest naval base. Colombo was to be its next scheduled call, going around South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, taking 27 days, scheduled to land just after our New Year. The US National Transportation Safety Board has reported that the ship had been carrying 764 tons of hazardous materials including explosives to SL in 56 containers.

Asked for a comment in this regard, Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) Chairman Keith Bernard said the ship should declare the contents of containers only 72 hours before the time of arrival into the Colombo Port.

“The ship is supposed to arrive here on April 21, 2024. It means they are supposed to inform us by April 17 or so. There is enough time. If there are containers with hazardous items as declared by them, we will isolate such containers in accordance with protocols. As a major transshipment hub, we have a procedure set in place to deal with such containers. Most likely, these containers are meant for transshipment,” he said.

Asked about the procedure if the containers are meant to be allowed into the country, he said the clearance of the Defence Ministry and others would be sought.

However, Deputy Director of the Central Environment Authority (CEA) Ajith Wijesundara said it is not yet clear whether the ship was carrying containers with hazardous wastes or toxic substances. According to the Basel Convention, he said such wastes would not be allowed into the country.

The text of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was adopted on March 22, 1989 and entered into force on the ninetieth day after the date of deposit of the twentieth instrument of ratification, acceptance, formal confirmation, approval or accession, on May 5, 1992. The text has been subject to various amendments since its adoption.

He added that toxic substances are imported as raw materials and guidelines are applied.

  Comments - 28

  • Raja Mendis Tuesday, 02 April 2024 07:06 AM

    Maybe the Sri Lanka government is not aware of that, whoever the minister is, he must be the obviously aware.

    Sambo Tuesday, 02 April 2024 07:33 AM

    What kind of a stupid law it is to give 72 hours notice s to what kind of goods it's carrying. If the public goes to post a package to some country we have to open and show what it contains before it can be accepted. This is a big s candle and action must be taken against this.

    Puswadilla Tuesday, 02 April 2024 07:39 AM

    At what period and rates are PERSONAL COMMISSIONS collected from supplier?

    Countryman Tuesday, 02 April 2024 08:06 AM

    Who has orded these containers. Ships would not bring containers to Srilanka unless orded or in need help.

    Shera Tuesday, 02 April 2024 08:30 AM

    "However, Deputy Director of the Central Environment Authority (CEA) Ajith Wijesundara said it is not yet clear whether the ship was carrying containers with hazardous wastes or toxic substances." So where is this assumption of toxic waste coming from?

    Steve Tuesday, 02 April 2024 08:32 AM

    Now that SL is aware will they investigate. Or will it be hushed up because powerful people are involved.

    Chryshan Tuesday, 02 April 2024 08:42 AM

    Yeh unless the ship meets with an accident no one knows and it's dumped and gone. All containers will be cleared unopened and taken direct to dump yards with high security. Nothing can be even dumped without baby.

    Prof. K.W. Ariyawansa Tuesday, 02 April 2024 08:45 AM

    US knows pretty well that SL is the only country filled with waste politicians who are un-civilized

    Ranil the sleazy Tuesday, 02 April 2024 08:55 AM

    We have a government full of conmen starting with the incompetent president.

    Tissa Fernando Tuesday, 02 April 2024 09:16 AM

    May be the ports do not know about it but the importer knows. But who is the importer? Very funny, always ships carrying goods without final recipient.

    Pariya Palangoda Tuesday, 02 April 2024 09:18 AM

    ...except Pagapala with big commission!

    Nimal Tuesday, 02 April 2024 09:24 AM

    No doubt some of our fellows will be behind this just like the hospital waste containers that arrived from the UK a few years ago.

    DOT Tuesday, 02 April 2024 10:17 AM

    Unaware for ever !

    sanath Tuesday, 02 April 2024 10:42 AM

    According to the Basel Convention, he said such wastes would not be allowed into the country. THEN HOW DID DP BRING IN THOSE WASTE TO SRILANKA

    johan Tuesday, 02 April 2024 10:47 AM

    Sri Lanka has become the stupid country under the present and former Govts.How can this happen without knowing.Moreover this the second such incident before four years such waste containers arrived from UK.

    Nodaking kalakanni Tuesday, 02 April 2024 11:05 AM

    Probably a member from the ranil rajapaksa criminal syndicate was going to make a lot of money from this toxic waste.

    Newer Waste Protocols Must Be Established Soonest Tuesday, 02 April 2024 11:17 AM

    Haven’t the authorities learn anything from the recent Pearl Xpress ship disaster in SL waters? Newer protocol’s should have been established by now. Any hazardous materials heading to SL should be declared before the ship leaves the previous port and NOT a few days before it’s arrival in SL waters. This will give ample time for the authorities to decide if it can sail into or need to bypass SL waters. Time to be tough with these countries thinking of ways to dump their unwanted waste in someone else’s backyard. Whoever produces waste should have also ensure proper disposal arrangements are done before the waste is produced.

    ANNECUNT Tuesday, 02 April 2024 12:20 PM


    modaya Tuesday, 02 April 2024 06:21 PM

    Why? The British Colonial masters said Sinhalaya Modaya when they handed over the country to the majority Sinhalese and left 75 years ago. They are right because it has been quite a struggle for Sri Lanka since independence. and now it is getting even worse by the day.

    UMAS ALI Tuesday, 02 April 2024 12:26 PM

    arrest the person responsible and put him in jail for 20 years otherwise this will happen again and again, must be politicians involved, this is how they make money

    Joe Tuesday, 02 April 2024 12:31 PM

    Nowhere in the official report it says these are "Toxic waste". Hazaedou materials are a classification of materials that need special attention to be given while transporting. From looking at the the stuff, batteries, explosives (could be tnt or dynamite used in construction) and chemicals are perfectly legal consumer and commercial products. Also these could be intended to be rerouted to India and other countries around us. This is just typical garbage journalism by uneducated Lankan journalists.

    Catharine Tuesday, 02 April 2024 01:27 PM

    It is interested to know about the master of the game ((master brain behind). It may not be harm of less harm to SL envirmant, if the stuff handled professionally ( eg take out Lithium from batries and resell/ export. Metal to sell as scrap to India etc, avoiding ground water, air polution etc) . General public were awarew of the org. behind previous British stuff. However, this is a tricky bussiness for a small country like Sri Lanka.

    Kanishka Tuesday, 02 April 2024 01:28 PM

    If there was any money to be made out of this SL will be aware of it

    navratne willamune Tuesday, 02 April 2024 04:16 PM

    registerd letter cannot be posted without postoffice opening it up.Draconian rules for ordinary citizens.but for those with connections laws dont apply

    NV Jen Tuesday, 02 April 2024 06:38 PM

    Even the previous regime and it's bureaucrats were totally unaware that the country was sliding towards bankruptcy, despite repeated warnings from IMF and the economists. Unawareness, shortsightedness and apathy are the hallmarks of Sri Lanka that is run by the incompetent, elected by the imbeciles.

    ROHINI WIJETILLEKE Tuesday, 02 April 2024 07:47 PM


    Ruben Huling Tuesday, 02 April 2024 09:31 PM

    Corrupt regime is acting ignorant and the corrupt politicians must be behind sponsoring this sort of international hazardous garbage dumping business. It is not the first time...

    Ranil Wednesday, 03 April 2024 10:05 AM

    Just because containers arrive at a port does not mean that the contents will make way into the country. Containers can be stored in port for outbound transfer shipments.

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