Chemical-laden cargo ship sinking off Sri Lanka

A container ship ravaged by fire is sinking in the Indian Ocean off Sri Lanka, raising concerns about possible leakage of onboard chemicals and fuel.

Sri Lankan authorities said the Singaporean-registered X-Press Pearl was anchored 17 kilometers off the country's largest city Colombo when it caught fire on May 20.

The Sri Lanka Navy and others took almost two weeks, until Tuesday, to put out the blaze. All crewmembers were rescued safely.

The ship is carrying 1,500 containers holding 25 tons of nitric acid, other chemicals and cosmetics, as well as nearly 300 tons of heavy oil.

Authorities say the ship's stern has started to submerge. The Navy is surveying the waters around the vessel out of concern that the chemicals and oil could leak.

Large volumes of plastic pellets and other debris believed to be cargo from the ship have washed up on Sri Lankan beaches. The Navy is working to collect them.

Sri Lanka's government has ordered that all fishing in nearby areas be suspended.