Urges Government to expedite the process
By Yohan Perera
Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday proposed appointing a parliamentary select committee to probe the X Press Pearl ship disaster.
“I propose that a Parliamentary Select Committee be immediately appointed to inquire into the fire on this ship. There is a possibility of appointing members and appointing a Select Committee this week when Parliament meets. Accordingly, the Committee may meet in the first week of July to present a preliminary report on the environmental and economic damage caused by the ship’s fire,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said.
“People have a right to know how the ship caught fire and why it could not be extinguished. Also, the people have a right to know what steps we will be taken next regarding the ship. We urge the government to expedite this process,” he added.
“If the explosion had taken place when the X-Press Pearl had entered the port of Colombo, the damage would have been worse. It could have destroyed all the buildings from the Colombo Port to the Shangri-La Hotel. The ship arrived in the outer harbour of Colombo on the night of May 19.
On May 20, our crew entered the ship. There they learned that there was a fire in the container loaded with chemicals stored on the ship. By May 25, the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) had informed the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) that this area was in danger. The Marine Environment Protection Authority warned that there is a risk of fire damaging the marine environment.