Written by Zulfick Farzan
15 Dec, 2021 | 6:01 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st); Former President Maithripala Sirisena has said that Sri Lanka should not pay a single cent to the Chinese with regard to the rejected fertilizer consignment.
He told reporters on Wednesday (15) that the people’s money cannot be given in such a manner, at a time when the country is facing serious shortages in food, currency, etc.
“We are against the payment of a single cent to the Chinese,” said Maithripala Sirisena, the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.
“The fertilizer may have been inspected by Ministers, MPs, and experts with a visit to China, before placing the order. They need to be punished,” stressed the Former President.
The Former President’s comments came a day after the Sri Lankan government on the advice of the Attorney General’s Department decided to pay US $ 6.7 million to the Chinese fertilizer producer Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co Ltd for the rejected organic fertilizer shipment.
Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Minister of Agriculture said the company has been instructed to re-produce the fertilizer stock in accordance with the standards of the Sri Lanka Standards Institution.
The Sri Lankan government rejected the organic fertilizer shipment from Qingdao Seawin Biotech after tests confirmed that the stock of fertilizer contained hazardous bacteria on two occasions and denied entry to the ship carrying the 20,000 metric tons of rejected organic fertilizer.
The fertilizer ship, which had been sailing around the island for a long time, left Sri Lankan waters on the 4th of December after the company has launched an international arbitration procedure.
China’s Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd has sought compensation of 8 million US dollars over its organic fertilizer deal with Sri Lanka.
The compensation has been sought from Colombo Commercial Fertilizers Ltd. through an arbitration center in Singapore.
The Chinese company says that Sri Lanka violated the agreement with regard to the purchasing of the Chinese Organic Fertilizer.
The Bulk Carrier – Hippo Spirit:
The Hippo Spirit is carrying tonnes of rejected Chinese Fertilizer from Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd to Sri Lanka.
Earlier, it was reported that the Hippo Spirit, the ship carrying Chinese Organic Fertilizer, did not return to China after the first samples were rejected by Sri Lanka.
Instead, the Hippo Spirit had sailed to Singapore and altered its course back to Sri Lanka, without returning to China.
On the 22nd of September, the Hippo Spirit ship carrying 20,000 metric tonnes of organic fertilizer left for Colombo from China’s Qingdao Port.
But the ship was diverted to Singapore after harmful bacteria was detected in the samples of this fertilizer shipment.
The Hippo Spirit ship that didn’t return to China had left Singapore declaring it would be heading to the Colombo Port.
Data available online showed the Hippo Spirit ship in Hambantota on the 24th of October 2021 under the name Seiyo Explorer.
The Hippo Spirit and the Seiyo Explorer both share the same IMO number, and therefore it can be confirmed the Hippo Spirit is the Seioy Explorer.
The IMO Ship Identification Number is a unique seven-digit number that remains unchanged through a vessel’s lifetime and is linked to its hull, regardless of any changes of names, flags, or owners.
After almost two months of sailing in Sri Lankan waters, the Hippo Spirit set sail for Singapore in early December.
On the 17th of September Sri Lanka’s Minister of Agriculture confirmed that a microorganism identified as ‘Erwinia’ was discovered in samples brought down ‘unofficially’ to Sri Lanka and tested.
The supplier was the same, Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd.
On September 29th, Sri Lanka’s Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage announced the suspension of organic fertilizer imports from China.
This was after Director-General of Agriculture Dr. Ajantha De Silva on 28th September confirmed that Harmful Bacteria was detected in a fresh sample (2nd batch) of Chinese Organic Fertilizer.
The Ceylon Fertilizer Company Limited had got a court order to block payment to Qingdao Seawin Biotech over the shipment of organic fertilizer which was contaminated.
The Colombo Commerical High Court had issued the order on October 22nd, against the Qingdao Seawin Biotech, its local agent, and the People’s Bank.
Blacklisting People’s Bank :
The People’s Bank of Sri Lanka was then blacklisted by the Economic and Commercial Office of the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka for failing to make the payment according to the Letter of Credit and the contracts between the two parties.
However, People’s Bank said that is it bound by an enjoining order issued by the Commercial High Courts of Sri Lanka with regard to the trade transaction in question, which precludes the bank from processing the payment.
People’s Bank also said that the temporary delay in processing the said payment pertaining to the LC is solely due to the bank’s obligation to be bound by the legal directions of the country, as a responsible corporate citizen.
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