Transport and Shipping Minister Rohita Abigunavardina has announced that, as a first step, he has filed a lawsuit against Singapore-registered MV X-Press Pearl, X-Press Feeders, for $40 million in damages. Abejgunavbardena confirmed that I would also like to see the cost of the rescue again, and it wasn’t even an estimate of how much damage the local economy would have to suffer as a result of the disaster. Sri Lanka has asked Australia to help assess this.
The MV X-Press Pearl blazed for nearly two weeks near Colombo and sank on June 2, releasing millions of plastic particles from the wreck, which the ship shipped to Sri Lanka as raw materials for packaging production. The pollution affects the coasts that are also important for fishing and tourism for about 80 kilometres. Environmentalists in Sri Lanka speak of the worst marine pollution in the country’s history.
Fisheries Minister Kansana Vijaeszekera has announced that the ban on fishing will be lifted for most of the affected 80-kilometre portion, which will remain in effect only for a smaller portion in the immediate vicinity of the wreck. He stressed that the ban affected the lives of about 20,000 families. He also said that about 1,200 tons of contaminated plastics and other debris have been collected in 45 containers so far, and clean-up of the damaged shoreline continues. A participant in the cleanup told AFP that this 1,200 tons represented nearly half of the pollution.
Cover photo: Getty Images Members of the Sri Lankan military remove debris from a shipwreck on Moratuwa Beach near Colombo.