Supreme Court case on burning cargo vessel X-Press Pearl to be heard today

SUPREME COURT CASE SFRA 184/2021 Tomorrow MONDAY, 25th of OCTOBER , 2021

Burning of X-Press Pearl Ship and its impacts

  1. The Supreme case SCFRA-184/2021 was put forward understanding the immediate, the short term and long term effects of the burning of x-Press Pearl with its containers full of nitric acid, hazardous chemicals, oil and plastic pellets
  2. The short term effects lead to the death of 471 turtles, the dolphins and whales and the destruction of the coral reef
  3. The ship did not sink completely as the ship was dragged by the side of the coral reef and eventually rested on the coral reef itself, the ship can be seen well from Sarakkuwa beach, Pamunugama
  4. The fishermen of the area confirms the presence of a coral reef that extends nearly 30 miles in the area
  5. So far the only attempt by MEPA has been to collect plastic pellets that have got washed off onto the beach-A machine has been set up to collect the pellets in the beach and has found degraded plastics of different sizes, this work is carried out for only 100 meters and has stopped due to a dispute with MEPA
  6. MEPA has given people permission to sieve sand on the beach and the women collect plastic pellets. This operation has started almost a week ago,
  7. The collection of plastic pellets on the beach alone is not sufficient, as the true pollution is inside the sea, where the containers of oil, hazardous material, nitric acid and pellets are still present,
  8. MEPA has called for BIDS to remove the ship and about 3 days ago has granted the operation to a foreign company (needs to be confirmed), however this operation will further damage the coral reef and will pollute the sea water even further.
  9. No water samples, samples of living matter have been collected from the sea for testing
  10. Even if the ship is moved, nevertheless the damage caused by the chemicals, oil and the physical damage to the corals would be obvious for close to 50 to 100 years. Therefore, a plan to restore the sea, sea bed and the sensitive ecosystems are of tremendous value. This is precisely what this case SCFRA-184-2021 is asking for cleaning, assessment and restoration.

Requests of the case:

A. 70% of the compensation received should be used to establish a sea conservation fund
B. An expert committee of environmentalists and ecologists and marine biologists should be set up to prepare an action plan to investigate the damage to the sea life
C. The Expert Committee to monitor the activities of the Action Plan and advise, thereby restore the sea for the next generation

Dr. (Mrs.) Ajantha Perera

Thank you

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