ECONOMYNEXT – The insurers and owners of X-Press Pearl, which caught fire off Sri Lanka spilling debris have agreed to make interim payment for costs an official said while authorities are still on the watch for a possible oil spill.
X-Press Feeders is covered for protection and indemnity insurance (P &I) by London Club P & I.
“We have had discussion with Singapore as the flag country of the ship, the ships agents and the P & I insurers and the ship owners,” Director General of Merchant Shipping Ajith W Seneviratne said.
“To get damages we have been having discussions with insurers and also the owners. Also the relevant state agency in Singapore,”
“They have agreed to make an interim payment. That is for what losses have happened up to now.”
“When we submit that (claim) through our Attorney General they have agreed to pay. And for the beach clean up.”
Sri Lanka is also assessing long term economic damage to make a final claim.
There have been concerns in Sri Lanka that damage claims are small due to close links with shipping agents and the political establishment.
Shipping agents have been resisting liberalization of the sector to make the country a maritime hub like Singapore to maintain their oligopoly and in the process stopped firefighting tug companies and related firms from setting up shop in Colombo.
Shipping agents are almost the sole advisors to political leaders on maritime policy, critics say.
Dharshani Lahandapura Chairperson of Sri Lanka’s Maritime Environmental Protection Authority said earlier that a panel of experts was appointed for to make a full claim including environmental damage.
This panel includes experts from the fields of chemistry, environment science and also environmental economics she said.
Sr Lanka’s fishermen have been among the hardest hit by the ship.
They were collecting evidence, including lab tests of air, water soil from various locations.
Lahandapura said since the environmental impact is a longer term and more complex phenomonon more time was needed to assess the impact.
If necessary under international convention they had up to three years to make the claim she said.
Sri Lanka is also getting ready for a possible oil spill from onboard bunkers, though official say the likelihood of a leak is receding with each passing day.
It is not clear what cause the fire on board the X-Press Pearl. It carried a leaking acid container but the fire had first broken out in the Number 02 hold. A detailed survey is required to find the cause, officials have said. (Colombo/June05/2021)