Sri Lanka finds nuclear material on a China-bound ship docked at Hambantota

The ship was found to be carrying uranium hexafluoride, which is classified under “dangerous cargo”.

Sri Lanka on Tuesday found radioactive material on a ship bound in China covered with the southern Port of Hambantota. The ship was asked to leave Port, according to officials, as the shipping company failed obtain prior consent for “dangerous cargo”, in accordance with Sri Lankan law.

When contacted, Sri Lankan Navy spokesman Captain Indika de Silva confirmed the development.

Officials said a local shipping company, which handled the ship sailing under the Antigua and Barbuda flag, from Rotterdam in the Netherlands to China, had identified a “mechanical emergency” and sought permission from the harbor manager at Hambantota Port, which is run in China. However, the company did not declare the cargo to be radioactive material, a requirement under the Sri Lankan Atomic Energy Act.

The ship was found to be carrying uranium hexafluoride, which is classified under “dangerous cargo”, according to officials. “Uranium hexachloride is a nuclear material that is commonly transported from one country to another. But in accordance with Sri Lankan law, any vessel carrying radioactive material needs to obtain prior permission before mooring at any of our ports. This ship had not received that clearance, ”said HL Anil Ranjith, Director General of Sri Lanka’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Council. The Hindu on Wednesdays. “After consulting the Ministry of Defense, we have asked the ship to leave Port,” he said.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB or united people front) Sajith Premadasa raised the issue in Parliament on Wednesday. The Navy had not been allowed to “go on board to carry out an inspection”, he said, adding: “The government appears to be under the pressure of a diplomatic mission.” He did not name the mission. “I’m asking the government to investigate this … this is a very serious issue, something that can affect the life of our community,” said Mr Premadasa.