X-Press Pearl fire was allowed to spread; allegations in court

X-Press Pearl fire was allowed to spread; allegations in court

X-Press Pearl fire was allowed to spread; allegations in court

Written by Staff Writer

15 Jun, 2021 | 6:49 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st); The Hultsdorf Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday (15) stressed that all court orders concerning the investigations on the X-Press Pearl container ship must be complied with without any reservations.

Appearing for the Attorney General’s Department Deputy Solicitor General Madhawa Thennakoon said that Sea Consortium Lanka PVT Ltd., the local agent for the MV X-press Pearl had not complied with an order issued by the court to allow access to the communications database of the company.

The Magistrate said that all orders of the court must be complied with without any reservations unless an order has been obtained to the contrary from a competent higher court.

Deputy Solicitor General Madhawa Thennakoon also submitted in court that although the Managing Director and Chairman of Sea Consortium Lanka Arjuna Hettiarachchi was ordered to make a statement to the CID, he had failed to do so.

DSG Thennakoon added that Arjuna Hettiarachch remains unavailable as he was not at his residence or office when detectives visited the premises and the prosecution sought an order from the court to prevent him from leaving the country.

However responding to this, Anura Meddagoda PC appearing for the Managing Director and Chairman of Sea Consortium Lanka Arjuna Hettiarachchi, said that his client will appear at the CID at 9.30 AM on Wednesday (16), and the CID was informed about it in writing.

Anura Meddegoda PC further said that the communications database information sought by the CID will be handed over to the authorities on Wednesday (16).

Appearing on behalf of Sea Consortium Lanka Pvt. Ltd. Sarath Jayamanne PC submitted in court that the recordings of the communications between the Captain of the ship, and Sri Lankan authorities are also stored at the communications center of the Ports Authority and, those recordings have not been produced in court nor cited in any B-reports.

He requested the court to issue an order directing authorities to investigate these recordings.

The Magistrate issued an order directing the investigating authorities to look into the status of these recordings and conduct investigations accordingly.

The Magistrate added that all court orders must be complied with and directed authorities to report to the court any resistance in complying with these orders that would amount to a contempt of court.

The case will be taken up again on the 30th of June.

Meanwhile appearing on behalf of the Captain of the sunken MV X-press Pearl in the High Court yesterday Sarath Jayamanne PC said that officials of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) had allowed the fire to spread on board the ship without controlling it, in the hope of receiving compensation for the damages.

He pointed out that the captain of the ship had informed the authorities of the situation of the ship in advance.

He added that the Harbourmaster is empowered under the Sri Lanka Ports Authority Act to direct the ship to be taken to the high seas, but no action was taken between the 20th and the 25th of May.

Appearing on behalf of the Attorney General’s (AG) Department at the high court yesterday, Deputy Solicitor General Madhawa Tennakoon claimed that the Captain and his crew had hidden the acid leakage in a container aboard the vessel from the Sri Lankan authorities when entering the country’s territorial waters.

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