Photo: Bloomberg

The beaches in southwestern Sri Lanka have golden sand and are fringed by palm trees and coconut groves. The coastline is dotted with hotels. In February and March migrating blue whales pass nearby.

A smoldering shipwreck off the coast and near the capital Colombo threatens that natural ecosystem and the local economy. Authorities are bracing for a potential fuel leak from the ship after the vessel’s stern hit the seabed as it was being towed out to sea, Sri Lanka Navy spokesman Captain Indika de Silva said late Wednesday.

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