Fri, 06 Aug 2021 Today's Paper

Appoint PSC to look into fire on X-Press Pearl ship: Ranil tells Govt.

6 June 2021 05:00 pm - 16     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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UNP leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called for the appointment of a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to look into the fire on the X-Press Pearl.

"The ship arrived in the outer harbor of Colombo on the night of May 19. On the 20th of May our crew entered the ship. There they learned that there was a fire in the container boxes containing the chemicals stored on the ship. By May 25, the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) had informed the International Maritime Organization (IMO) that this area was in danger," Wickremesinghe said.

“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 UNP Leader stressed.

"The Marine Environment Protection Authority warned that there is a risk of fire damaging the marine environment. This is referred to as a “Tier II" disaster. This means that if Sri Lanka finds it difficult to control the fire, it may need outside help. Although the International Maritime Organization (IMO) was notified of the need for assistance, neither the Government of Sri Lanka nor MEPA requested international assistance," Wickremesinghe underlined.

"Why did the government not enforce the existing laws between May 20 and May 25? That is the most important question. In such a situation the National Disaster Council can be convened under the Disaster Management Act. It has the potential to gather and declare a state of disaster in the coastal region," he asked.

"This National Disaster Council could be formed with the participation of 20 Ministers including the President and the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition and 5 Members of the Opposition. The National Council could have met and taken decisions on behalf of the Coast Guard. But no one made such a decision. If it had been declared that there would be a national disaster, we could have obtained foreign assistance to put out the fire. As the fire spread we got help to put out the fire from India. By then the fire was out of control because the notification to India had been delayed. Europe and East Asian countries have the greatest knowledge about the fires of such a chemical ship," he pointed out.

"Why was the International Maritime Organization not informed and international assistance to extinguish the fire requested? Why did the fire grow and let it get to the point of destruction? These questions have arisen. Why didn't we think about the damage to our future economy and the damage to the environment from this fire? The government and the Marine Environment Protection Authority should have thought about these matters. There is a risk of destruction of the coral reef around Colombo in the Sri Lankan Seas due to the mixing of nitric acid with seawater. It is because of the coral reef in Colombo that we survived the tsunami disaster," he said.

Therefore, the UNP Leader proposed 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 fire. 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 take next regarding the ship. We urge the government to expedite this," he added.

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  Comments - 16

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  • MightyAnt Sunday, 06 June 2021 05:30 PM

    It seems you are a fire expert!

    Sam Silva Sunday, 06 June 2021 05:46 PM

    Didn't you appoint a committee to investigate the Bond scam and still the crooks are at large. Now you want to do the same.

    Jaffna Forever Sunday, 06 June 2021 06:08 PM

    This brainless but extremely lucky guy simply worships anything that is from the West. We don’t need Committees and Commissions to find out actually what happened, it is a waste of time and money. A direct investigation led by the Attorney General would suffice.

    UNP Sunday, 06 June 2021 06:12 PM

    Appoint a Committee like the Committee he appointed to investigate the Bond Scam.

    Shehan Moses Sunday, 06 June 2021 06:21 PM

    Go Way U disgraced politician, nobody want your advise cos we all know you just wanna portray yourself as a wise man in the public eye you pathetic looser.

    Yoga Sunday, 06 June 2021 06:25 PM

    Why don't you first come to the parliament

    Harsha Sunday, 06 June 2021 06:32 PM

    He gleefully points others faults and mismanagement., coming out of the woodworks. He should be in jail first for Batalanda innocent youth killings, then being a traitor to sir lanka betraying the armed forces and bond scam among others. A real traitor to the nation.

    Milinda Sunday, 06 June 2021 06:34 PM

    What can the unscrupulous underqualified do when they do not understand to evaluate the damage caused by the xpress ship inferno It should be a committee of professional people involved in the respective subject areas including the Srilankan Navy.

    MightyAnt Sunday, 06 June 2021 06:41 PM

    You were called Mr. Clean. Then you were called Mr. Bond. At time you were called Mr. Committee. Now my I call you Mr. Zero.

    Deva Thamotheram Sunday, 06 June 2021 09:32 PM

    Isn't it time to enjoy your retirement ? Deva

    Kanna Sunday, 06 June 2021 10:15 PM

    A commission needs to be appointed to find out the state of your warped brain. Disgrace to the nation.

    Independent Obsever Sunday, 06 June 2021 10:21 PM

    Appointment of committees is generaly playing for time and inherited from colonial masters !

    vince Sunday, 06 June 2021 10:28 PM

    Not another frigging committee. What's with these politicians. They love committees.

    Patriotic citizen Monday, 07 June 2021 12:59 AM

    Get lost

    rew Monday, 07 June 2021 07:58 AM

    Traitor providing delaying tactic to Government

    Premalal Perera Monday, 07 June 2021 09:48 AM

    The best example of a "Dead man talking" in a political sense.


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