An Echelon Media Company
Sunday June 20th, 2021

X-Press Pearl: Sri Lanka forms expert groups for environmental, economic costs

ECONOMYNEXT – Five expert groups have been set up to assess the environmental and economic damage and get the maximum damage to Sri Lanka from the X-Press Pearl disaster, Justice Minister Ali Sabry has said.

The X-Press Pearl was carrying hundreds of tonnes of sodium hydroxide in its holds and a leaking acid container on deck when it caught fire off Colombo Port, spilling fiery debris and plastics into the sea.

“Today we had a broad discussion with multiple stakeholders connected to this field,” Justice Minister Sabry said after meeting with Sri Lanka’s Attorney General, fisheries and port officials.

“The objective was to calculate cost of the tragedy to our country, our fisheries sector, our maritime environment and get legally ready to get the maximum compensation”

“We want to develop a mechanism give the maximum support to the Attorney General from experts, scientists in the state and private sectors.”

The government planned to channel the compensation to sectors that had suffered, he said.

“We want to get the maximum compensation for the costs, the damage that is taking place and the damage that can take place in the future,” Minister Sabry said.

“We want to set up mechanism to channel the compensation to the persons and sectors that actually suffered.”

Five sub-committees had been formed to assess damage to the fisheries, the environment, focusing especially on the coastal eco-system, for a legal strategy, generally the cost to the economy, and the money that had been spent by so far and will spend in the future.

Sri Lanka’s Attorney General’s Department also got court orders to get more information on the communications between the ship and its agents and also protect evidence in the vessel.

Tonnes of burnt debris and plastic granules known as ‘nurdles’ have washed up on Sri Lanka’s coasts.

Sri Lanka’s media has carried reports of sick and dead turtles turning up on Sri Lanka’s beaches from the time the fire started, which also coincided with an usually storm monsoonal storm.

Partially de-composed turtles and dolphins continue to wash up on Sri Lanka’s beaches.

Though fishermen have said dead turtles and fish tend to wash up on Sri Lanka beaches during the South West monsoon season, most of the dead animal reported has been on the Western coast.

Sri Lankan authorities have taken the carcasses for further analysis.

Sri Lanka’s Newsfirst television had reported the deaths of at least 11 turtles and two dolphins up to June 07.

28-May-21 two Turtles Panadura and Negombo
30-May-21 one Turtle Thoduwawa
3-Jun-21 one Turtle Unawatuna
5-Jun-21 one Turtle Mount Lavinia
6-Jun-21 three turtles Kosgoda
6-Jun-21 four turtles Payagala, Wadduwa, Dehiwala and Angulana
6-Jun-21 1 dolphin Induruwa
7-Jun-21 1 dolphin Wadduwa

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