A British businessman who prides himself on ‘preserving nature’ can be revealed as the man at the centre of an environmental disaster threatening Sri Lanka’s pristine beaches.
Tim Hartnoll owns X-Press Feeders, whose cargo ship sank off the country’s western coast last week after an explosion started a 12-day fire on board.
Containers filled with chemicals spilled into the sea, although it is thought the MV X-Press Pearl’s 350 tons of crude oil has burnt.
Environmental disaster: Containers filled with chemicals spilled into the sea, although it is thought the MV X-Press Pearl’s 350 tons of crude oil has burnt
The Sri Lankan Government has said it will seek substantial damages after banning fishing along a 50-mile stretch of the coast because of the huge numbers of microplastic granules now in the sea.
Investigators believe the fire was caused by a leak from the ship’s containers, which were carrying 25 tons of nitric acid.
Hartnoll, 66, is chairman of XPress Feeders, which is insured in London. He has blamed the leak on poor packaging.
The company said the crew had detected the problem in the Arabian Sea but was denied access to two ports.
Hartnoll, who was raised in both Singapore and the UK, lives in the city state but has invested in a series of luxury hotels in England.
He has also bought Bawah Reserve, a £23million luxury resort on a remote Indonesian island. ‘We wanted to preserve and keep it as the first time when we saw it,’ he said. ‘I have always been very passionate about preserving nature.’
Hartnoll said: ‘I have been through all those emotions: anger, frustration and embarrassment over the last two weeks.’