Dead sea turtles continue to wash up on SL shores; Authorities plan to seek maximum compensation

Dead sea turtles continue to wash up on SL shores; Authorities plan to seek maximum compensation

Dead sea turtles continue to wash up on SL shores; Authorities plan to seek maximum compensation

Written by Zulfick Farzan

07 Jun, 2021 | 11:07 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st); Several more dead sea turtles and dolphins washed up on Sri Lanka’s coast as the country braces itself to control possible oil spills from the steadily sinking X-Press Pearl container ship off the Colombo Harbour.

The ill-fated vessel entered Sri Lankan waters 17 days ago (19th May) and is currently sinking into the sea bed approximately 09 nautical miles away from the island’s westers beaches.

The Sri Lanka Army and the Sri Lanka Air Force continue to carry out reconnaissance missions around the wreck.

Sri Lankan authorities claimed around 600 tons of plastic debris with sand were collected from the Western and Southern beaches and the plastic debris from the X-Press Pearl is stowed away in 40 containers, as a criminal investigation is currently underway over the disaster.

This is dubbed as Sri Lanka’s worst maritime disaster and the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) said it collected samples from 17 separate locations in the Sea of Sri Lanka on 04 separate occasions.

While the criminal investigations continue dead sea turtles and other marine life continues to wash up on Sri Lankan shores sparking fears among the local populations of ocean contamination.

A fully grown dolphin was found washed ashore in Wadduwa and it was taken away by wildlife officers for investigations.

A dead young whale also washed up on the Kosgoda beach on Monday (07) the very location where three dead sea turtles were discovered on Sunday (06).

Dr. Sampath Seneviratne is the Senior Lecturer at the Department of Zoology and Environment Sciences of the University of Colombo and he says the fumes from the burning X-Press Pearl have a direct impact on species in Sri Lanka’s central hill where the islands most valuable rain forests are located.

The contamination caused by the X-Press Pearl also has a direct impact on Sri Lanka’s marine life, given that 05 of the 07 sea turtles special in the world belong to Sri Lankan waters.

As these concerns mount, Kanchana Wijeseke, a Sri Lankan State Minister has pledged to call for investigations, especially about the dead sea turtles and other marine life washing up on the shores of the island.

On the instructions of the President, a special meeting was held at the ministry of justice on legal action to seek compensation for the damage caused to Sri Lanka by the fire on the X-Press Pearl, Chaired by Mohamed Ali Sabry , Rohitha Abegunawardana, Minister of port and shipping, Kanchana Wijesekera, State Minister of Ornamental Fish, Inland Fish & Prawn Farming, Fishery Harbour Development, Multiday Fishing Activities and Fish Exports, Attorney General Sanjaya Rajaratnam PC.

“The fire that broke out on the ship has severely affected the economy, ecosystem, fisheries and various other sectors of our country and the main objective was to assist the Attorney General’s Department in taking legal action to repair the damage caused to our country’s economy, ecosystem, fisheries and various other sectors due to the fire,” the Justice Minister posted on Facebook.

He said steps have been taken to obtain the assistance of intellectuals in the field for this purpose and that a guarantee will be given that legal action will be taken to obtain the maximum compensation to the country.

Speaking to reporters, the Justice Minister 05-sub-committees are working on the process of seeking compensation.

As Sri Lanka continues to explore options to seek maximum compensation, the country is yet to receive a major portion of the claim made following the MT New Diamond Disaster.

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