ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has scraped 1,075 tonnes of waste off X-Press Pearl into containers which are being stored while expert committees calculate the economic loss, a minister said while a watch was kept on the vessel for any oil leak.
“We have done the maximum to protect the marine environment,” Minister State Minister of Urban Development, Coast Conservation, Waste Disposal Nalaka Godahewa told parliament.
“But we must also accept when this kind of an accident happens, there is damage from that to the marine life, to the environment and to the water.
“So now we must get compensation for the damage. In order get the compensation we must make the calculations properly, we cannot say that this is the compensation as soon as the ship is sunk.”
The 1,075 tonnes of waste collected from the shores are being stored in 43 containers to be used as evidence in discussions with the insurers, Godahewa said.
The material packed into the containers also contains sea sand and the it is not clear what the net volume of debris is.
As well as burnt debris, large volumes of plastic nurdles have washed ashore from the ship as some un-burnt containers toppled off the ship when there was an explosion and the vessel developed a list in the first days of the fire.
Several committees have been appointed to calculate the losses to the country.
“We have appointed 5 sub-committees; an environment sub-committee, a fishery sub-committee, a tourism sub-committee, a marine sub-committee and a legal sub-committee,’ he said.
“We are doing a complete study (adyanayak) about the incident.”
Interim compensation has also been requested in the meantime he said.
X-Press Peal was on the East Asia to Middle East service of X-Press Feeders running from Malaysia, Singpore, Jebel Ali, Qatar, India, Colombo and back to Malaysia.
Sri Lanka had to help the vessel, when it caught fire.
In 2018 MSC Daniela, a vessel carrying 14,000 caught fire far away from Colombo Port, which was not due to call in Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Navy and Sri Lanka Ports Authority has responded and fought the fire.
“That is the normal procedure,” Gohahewa explained. “Even if the vessel was not bound to Sri Lanka, when it caught fire near Sri Lankan waters, the procedure is to answer it and help.”
Sri Lanka is responsible for a large Sear and Rescue area around its waters under maritime convenstions and also its flight information region for aviation. (Colombo/June08/2021)