The X-Press Pearl, a Singapore-flagged container ship, reported a fire aboard on May 20 while near the port of Colombo. The blaze burned for more than a week, while efforts to move the ship to deeper waters failed. The ship was holding hazardous chemicals such as nitric acid, sodium methoxide and methanol. Also aboard were billions of lentil-sized plastic pellets, known as nurdles, which spilled into the water and blanketed nearby beaches as the ship sank.

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