The remains of hundreds of sea animals have washed ashore after a cargo ship carrying dangerous chemicals caught fire and sank off the west coast of Sri Lanka in June in what is considered the country’s worst-ever marine disaster.

On May 20th, the Singapore-registered MV X-Press Pearl cargo ship carrying 1,486 containers, including 25 tons of nitric acid along with other chemicals and cosmetics, erupted in flames. 

A salvage crew failed to tow the sea vessel away from shore, and it sank on June 2nd.

Deputy solicitor general Madawa Tennakoon said at a court hearing Wednesday that “Toxic chemicals released from the ship have killed 176 turtles, 20 dolphins, and four whales.”

The Sri Lankan government has named 15 people for the accident – including the captain, Tyutkalo Vitaly. 

Vitaly has been banned from leaving the country until the matter is resolved.

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