(Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Sri Lankan authorities on Wednesday expelled an Antigua-registered ship that entered the island’s territory without declaring a radioactive cargo bound for China.

The country’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Council said the MV BBC Naples was asked to leave after it was found to be in the Chinese-run port of Hambantota on Tuesday night carrying uranium hexafluoride.

“The ship failed to declare its dangerous cargo — uranium hexafluoride- and we decided to order it to leave our waters immediately,” council director general Anil Ranjith told AFP.

The ship had come from Rotterdam but authorities did not say where in China it was headed.

Ranjith said it was an offence to enter a port without declaring the material, which is used to enrich uranium, the fuel for nuclear power stations and weapons.

Sri Lanka’s opposition leader Sajith Premadasa demanded an investigation into the incident, describing it as a serious safety threat.

“The navy has not been allowed to board the vessel to carry out an inspection,” Premadasa said.

There was no immediate comment from the government.