Even if Rs. 100 billion is paid to the government as compensation for the MV X-Press Pearl ship that caught fire in Sri Lankan waters, the damage caused to the environment cannot be restored, Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said.
He said the government had paid maximum attention to the damage caused by the ship fire.
"Investigations should be carried out into the cause of the fire and against those who allowed the ship to enter Sri Lankan waters. Also, action should be taken to punish the persons irrespective of their rank," he said.
"The government is concentrating on preventing an oil spill if the ship sinks. If an oil spill occurs, it will cause massive environmental damage," Minister Amaraweera said.
Therefore, the President insisted that further steps regarding the ship should be given priority according to the opinion of the experts and that in case of an oil spill, it should be avoided according to the opinion of the experts, the Minister said.
Several ship burning incidents have taken place in the Sri Lankan waters in a short period. Therefore, the Government is focusing on obtaining facilities and equipment that the country should have to prevent further shipwrecks in the future, he said.
It is important to prevent possible environmental damages and all responsible persons should be punished, he said. (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)