The insurers of the ‘X-Press Pearl’ ship, which sank off the western coast of Sri Lanka after being gutted in a massive fire two years ago, have made an interim payment to the Sri Lankan Government in order to cover the cost incurred by the Maritime Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) for the beach clean-up operations of the country and compensation for the fishermen affected by the maritime disaster, says the Minister of Justice, Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.
Accordingly, he said that the Sri Lanka Treasury has received USD 890,000 and Rs. 16 million as interim payment for costs incurred by MEPA and compensation for affected fisherfolks.
“This amount has been provided as an interim payment for compensating the fishermen and for the costs incurred by the Maritime Environment Protection Authority for cleaning up the coastline of the country due to the X-Press Pearl fire”, he added.
Sri Lanka witnessed what is considered one of the worst marine environmental disasters after the Singapore-flagged container ship, only three months after being commissioned, caught fire some 16 kilometres off Colombo on May 20, 2021, while transporting 1,500 containers including 25 tonnes of nitric acid.
The fire that continued for nearly two weeks resulted in a massive spillage of damaged containers, microplastics, plastic pellets, chemicals and other harmful substances into the sea.