Written by Zulfick Farzan
COLOMBO (News 1st); Responding to a query on reports that the ship ‘ Hippo Spirit ‘ carrying contaminated Chinese Fertiliser was in the Sea of Sri Lanka, the Colombo Port Harbour Master said he was unaware of the ships whereabouts but had issued stern directives preventing it’s entry.
Speaking exclusively to News 1st, he noted that the Plant Quarantine Authorities had informed him that the stock of fertilizer was contaminated and therefore should not be allowed into Sri Lanka.
However, reports reveal that the ship had informed certain local authorities that it would arrive at the Colombo Port on Friday (22).
The ‘Hippo Spirit’ is carrying 20,000 Metric Tonnes of Organic Fertilizer from China to Sri Lanka.
The Harbour Master said he had no information of the location of the ship.
The ‘Hippo Spirit’ ships maritime location has not changed for two weeks, with the ship remaining stationary in the Malacca Strait, as seen on www.marinetraffic.com.
This development comes after Sri Lanka’s Secretary to the President and the Agriculture Secretary advised to secure a court order to suspend payments to the Chinese company that shipped organic fertilizer to Sri Lanka, which was rejected for containing harmful pathogens.
The State Ministry of Agriculture noted that as tests proved the said fertilizer was not suitable for Sri Lanka, the fertilizer was rejected.
On September 29th, Sri Lanka’s Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage announced the suspension of organic fertilizer imports from China.
According to the Agriculture Ministry, this decision was reached after laboratory tests revealed the presence of harmful bacteria in the organic fertilizer samples.
Harmful Bacteria was detected in a fresh sample (2nd batch) of Chinese Organic Fertilizer, said the Director-General of Agriculture Dr. Ajantha De Silva on 28th September.
He told News 1st that samples from a Chinese company tested by authorities once again proved the presence of bacteria and he maintains the position to NOT allow any organic fertilizer from the particular supplier to be imported to the country.
This supplier was revealed as Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd.
On the 17th of September Sri Lanka’s Minister of Agriculture confirmed that a microorganism identified as ‘Erwinia’ was discovered in samples brought down ‘unofficially’ to Sri Lanka and tested.
The supplier was the same, Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd.