By Doug Helton, Office of Response and Restoration
On May 20, 2021, The X-Press Pearl caught fire and after 12 days sank off the coast of Sri Lanka. All of the containers were lost or damaged. The sinking has raised lots of concerns over the ship’s fuel and the hazardous materials on board, as well as low-density polyethylene (LDPE) pellets. These pellets, also known as pre-production plastic pellets, are the raw material for manufacturing plastic bottles and other containers. Some of the pre-production plastic pellets containers ruptured and coated nearby beaches with tiny pellets.
Every month our Emergency Response Division provides scientific expertise and services to the U.S. Coast Guard on everything from running oil spill trajectories to model where the spill may spread, to possible effects on wildlife and fisheries and estimates on how long the oil may stay in the environment. This month OR&R responded to 13 incidents in May, including oil discharges, grounded vessels, and other pollution-related incidents.
By Megan Ewald, Office of Response and Restoration
2021 marks 30 years of NOAA’s Damage Assessment, Remediation, and Restoration Program (DARRP) working to hold polluters accountable for the impacts of oil spills, hazardous waste, and ship groundings in waterways. When oil spills and hazardous waste pollution impact protected species like sea turtles, whales, and dolphins, NOAA experts use leading science to assess the impacts and hold polluters accountable.