Sri Lanka hopes for interim claim for environmental damage from MV X-Press Pearl’s owner
An earthmover works to remove debris washed ashore from the Singapore-registered container ship MV X-Press Pearl, which has been burning for the ninth consecutive day in the sea off Sri Lanka’s Colombo harbour on May 28, 2021. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP via Getty Images)
SRI LANKA hopes to put forth an interim claim from the owner of MV X-Press Pearl against marine environment damage, Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) chairperson Dharshani Lahandapura said on Friday (28).
“We will conduct a complete environmental damage assessment based on internationally recognised scientific methods,” Lahandapura told reporters.
“To conduct a complete damage assessment is very complicated. It will take a maximum of three years to get the complete report, therefore, the MEPA is hoping to have an interim claim to cover the damage.”
Eight days after the MV X-Press Pearl’s fire tragedy, burnt debris continues to accumulate on seashores.
The Sri Lankan navy has been tasked with removing burnt debris on a beach in Ja-Ela.
On Wednesday (25) the navy successfully evacuated all 25 crew members on MV X-Press Pearl.
The government also announced a ban along an 80-km (50-mile) coastal area, including Colombo, fearing contamination with pollutants and plastic waste from the stricken ship.
“We will compensate the owners of 5,600 boats affected by the ban,” fisheries minister Kanchana Wijesekera said, adding that seafood currently in the market was safe for consumption.
The vessel had left India’s Hazira port on May 15. While it was on the way to Singapore via Colombo an explosion was reported from within the vessel on May 21.
The MV X-Press Pearl was carrying cosmetics and chemicals, including 25 tonnes of nitric acid, and was anchored off Colombo when a container caught fire.