Authorities recover ‘Data Recorder’ from Singaporean ship sinking off Sri Lanka

Colombo: The black box of a container vessel that sank in Sri Lanka was recovered on Sunday while a dive to check for oil leaks had to be abandoned.

According to a report, the Voyage Data Recorder (VDR), also known as the 'Marine Black Box', has been found and is expected to help investigators assess the pre-accident situation. 

The Navy says divers were deployed for the third time on Sunday to inspect MVX Pearl's fuel tanks but failed to carry out their mission due to bad weather and maritime conditions.

However, a navy official said they did not find any oil in the area. "Another dive will be tried when the weather improves," he added.

Sri Lankan authorities hope the black box will provide details of the ship's movements and its links to the port in Colombo where it was to anchor.

"The Navy assisted the technicians in obtaining the VDR," said the spokesperson.

Singapore's registered ship has been slowly sinking in the Indian Ocean after burning in the Indian Ocean for about 2 weeks.

The ship, carrying 25 tonnes of nitric acid and a large quantity of plastic raw materials, was en route from the Indian state of Gujarat to Colombo.

Sri Lankan officials say an acid leak after May 11 could be the cause of the fire. He added that ports in Qatar and India had refused to offload the leaking nitric acid.

The island nation's police launched an investigation, interviewed the ship's Russian captain and its Indian chief officer, including the Russian chief engineer, and confiscated their passports.

Debris has washed ashore, as army personnel have been engaged in removing it from the beach. An oil spill could affect marine life and pollute Sri Lanka's beaches even more.

Officials said an acid leak from May 11 may be the cause of the disaster. They also said that ports in Qatar and India had refused to offload the nitric acid. 

A criminal investigation has been launched by local authorities. 

The government has said it will take action against the ship's owner. 

A group of environmentalists has sued the Sri Lankan government and the ship operator, for what they described as the "worst marine disaster" in the country's history.

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