Written by Zulfick Farzan
14 Jun, 2021 | 4:58 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st); Sri Lanka will not be depending on the damage assessment being prepared by ITOPF and OSL with regard to the X-Press Pearl disaster, said Justice Minister Ali Sabry PC on Monday (14).
Speaking to reporters following a meeting with relevant stakeholders to secure compensation, the Justice Minister said Sri Lanka already made an interim claim of USD 40 Mn which includes the cost incurred by Sri Lankan authorities to control the fire.
“We have appointed 05 separate committees to explore avenues of securing the main claim from the shipping company,” he said adding that if anyone has been affected by the X-Press Pearl disaster, one can approach a designated committee to make a claim.
In addition, Sri Lanka will be obtaining expertise from international organizations, he said while noting that 03 experts from the United Nations will be arriving in Sri Lanka on the 15th of June to advise local authorities, following the intervention of Hanaa Singer, the United Nations Resident Coordinator for Sri Lanka.
Further, acting on the advice of the Attorney General Sri Lankan authorities will reach agreements with the operators of the X-Press Pearl and the P&I Club with regard to removing hazardous material from the wreck and towing the vessel into international waters.
“We have already implemented a mechanism to handle this situation as professionally as possible,” said the Justice Minister.
The agents appointed by the shipping company are doing their assessment and gathering evidence and Sri Lanka is not depending on the shipping company or its representatives, he said.
“The Attorney General is looking into the Criminal & Civil aspects of this incident,” he said adding that one sub-committee is tasked with evaluating and finalizing the international offers to clean up the wreck and engage in other related activities.
“If we try to take over the salvage operations we will be taking ownership of the vessel and when that happens the owners will leave the process,” he said adding that the owners are held responsible to engage in the clean-up.
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