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Who’s pocketing the compensation from X-Press Pearl accident?

11 November 2022 12:18 am - 19     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The sinking X-Press Pearl

 

  • According to Dr. Perera, it is speculated that the compensation is being obtained not in dollars, but in rupees
  • Around 475 turtles, 5 whales, 47 dolphins and many small fish died following the X-Press Pearl accident
  • 25 tons of nitric acid, 1486 containers of sulfur, 439 containers with LDPE and HDPE plastic pellets which sank with the ship
  • Sarakkuwa beach was one location where the pollution was at its highest

 

 

It has been a year and five months since the vessel X-Press Pearl caught fire and sank. What the islanders are left with is the massive ocean and coastal pollution which resulted from the accident involving the vessel. Receiving compensation is unlikely to happen due to the mistakes committed by Sri Lankan authorities. According to several environmentalists the institutions handling the compensation process are now operating in a manner in which they have encountered a  problem.

 

This compensation is important in terms of being helpful to a country like Sri Lanka which is experiencing a severe economic crisis. If Sri Lanka can get more than six billion US$ in compensation for the damage caused by X-Press Pearl, the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) might not need the IMF loan. There will be no need to beg from other countries. If so, the authorities work towards obtaining the compensation. According to Environmentalist Nayanaka Ranwella no such step has been taken yet. “In addition the task of recovering the vessel has been given to a Chinese company when there are world-renowned companies that are qualified for such assignments. This is a dangerous move. Chemical containers of the vessel are scattered covering a vast area of the sea. If they get destroyed in the process of recovery it would have a huge impact on the sea,” explained Ranwella. According to him there are details of a plan to swindle the compensation monies; not forgetting that there are several powerful people behind that.


When the vessel first caught fire there was ample opportunity to drag the vessel away from the Sri Lankan coastal strip. The spokesperson of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority said that instead of allowing it to be dragged away, a certain powerful person made sure to sink the ship within the Sri Lankan coast. “I heard that he boarded the ship at the moment the fire started to meet with the officers. We need to find out if paying the compensation was delayed because of his intervention. Sri Lanka should receive compensation worth 6 billion US$, but it should be investigated as to whether the said person is the reason why the compensation was not received.” he added. 

 

 

The task of recovering the vessel has been given to a Chinese company when there are world-renowned companies that are qualified for such assignments. This is a dangerous move. Chemical containers of the vessel are scattered covering a vast area of the sea. If they get destroyed in the process of recovery it would have a huge impact on the sea
- Nayanaka Ranwella Environmentalist

 

 

Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) Chairman Darshani Lahandapura said earlier that Sri Lanka can apply for compensation within two years. “If so, now the concerned parties should report the extent of the damage to the vessel company and its insurance company and obtain the compensation as soon as possible. Presently that is not happening,” said Ranwella. “Some people seem to be working to undermine the damage caused to our environment, marine life, fishing or tourism sector. There is a risk of not receiving the compensation of 6 billion US$ for the environmental damage caused by the X-Press Pearl,” opined Ranwella.


The media reported on a decision taken by state authorities to halt the operations of a machine designed by a new inventor to clean the Sarakkuwa beach, where the pollution was at its highest. The machine has been able to separate pollutants in around seven layers. The machine could separate mostly plastic pellets in the size of lentil flakes, solid plastic or chemical mixed pellets hidden on the beach, microplastics, and liquids with acid and pollutants. With this, it was possible to see the pollutants of the burnt ship clearly. This programme was carried out under the supervision of MEPA. The Government had a great opportunity to reveal to the vessel company or the insurance company the extent of the destruction caused by the polluting agents. These pollutants could be used during the compensation process after conducting further studies in institutions like the Industrial Technology Institute and NARA, but MEPA made a request to cease the operations of the machine. The media also reported on this.

 

 

Neither we nor anyone wants to cover up the damage caused by the ship. We will not allow that to happen. At present, efforts are being made to compensate for the damage caused by the ship. An expert committee has been appointed to investigate on this matter
- Darshani Lahandapura Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) Chairman 

 

 

 

After the incident the registration company and the transport company of the X-Press Pearl completely withdrew from the compensation process. Only the International Tank Owner Pollution Federation (ITOPF) is presently handling the compensation with the vessels’ insurance company named P&I. 
When inquired about this earlier MEPA Chairman Darshani Lahandapura said the following. “Neither we nor anyone wants to cover up the damage caused by the ship. We will not allow that to happen. At present, efforts are being made to compensate for the damage caused by the ship. An expert committee has been appointed to investigate on this matter. About 40 people work in this committee under various subjects. We should apply for insurance compensation. We are working on that,” 
Lahandapura said.


According to her, the ITOPF or the “P&I” insurance company are not working to cover up the compensation process of the ship.
Commenting on this, Environmental Impact Assessment specialist and Environmental Scientist Dr. Ajantha Perera said that around 475 turtles, 5 whales, 47 dolphins and many small fish died following the X-Press Pearl accident. “In addition, coral reefs were destroyed. About 75 million plastic beads ended up in the sea. The consumption of fish by children decreased as a lot of small fish died. It is also one of the causes of malnutrition. Fishermen lost their jobs. The entire community collapsed. Marine life is still affected by the vessel’s chemicals. There are 25 tons of nitric acid, 1486 containers of sulfur, 439 containers with LDPE and HDPE plastic pellets which sank with the ship. In addition, toxins including iron, aluminum, urea, sodium monoxide, and copper were mixed into the sea. According to that, the amount of toxic chemicals added to the sea from the vessel is about 29,000 metric tons. Regarding this we can obtain compensation amounting to 6 billion US$ and not millions. But we have been paid compensation amounting to 3.8 million US$. It is an interim payment. 2.5 million was spent on cleaning the beach and as damage assessment expenses to receive compensation. The representatives of the vessel company said that they have paid about 1 billion US$ on seven occasions. Who was given that amount? Who obtained that?” she queried.  According to Dr. Perera no one knows what happened to that money.

 

 

 “About 75 million plastic beads ended up in the sea. The consumption of fish by children decreased as a lot of small fish died. It is also one of the causes of malnutrition. Fishermen lost their jobs. The entire community collapsed. Marine life is still affected by the vessel’s chemicals”
- Dr. Ajantha Perera Environmental Scientist 

 

 

 

 

Presently obtaining the compensation for the destruction caused to Sri Lanka’s coastline and environment has become a challenge as some people are trying to embezzle the compensation; which is about six billion US$. According to Dr. Perera, it is speculated that the compensation is being obtained not in dollars, but in rupees. There were talks doing the rounds that some people had made deals with the vessel’s representatives before the ship caught fire and sank. “I don’t know if the MEPA provided the documents to obtain compensation. When inquiries were made, they did not give a proper answer. As far as we know, the authorities have been continuously negotiating with the vessel company. In the legal proceedings, the vessel company has obtained legal assistance from Sri Lankan lawyers. The vessel company is maybe trying to give the Government a reduced amount as compensation and distribute another sum as commission. Then we will not obtain the due amount. This compensation will help us greatly to solve the country’s economic problem. Furthermore the carcasses of turtles are still kept in laboratories without any examination being done and most of the evidence might get destroyed,” she added.


 The Daily Mirror made attempts to speak to Ms.Lahandapura to find out about all these matters. The newspaper came to know that she was abroad. Therefore she made a request to send a text message about the matters to be discussed. This writer sent a text message in this regard, but there was no response from her at the time of going to press.

 

The picture shows efforts being taken to clear debris including micro plastics washed ashore


  Comments - 19

  • Mahila Friday, 11 November 2022 02:29 AM

    1. “According to Dr. Perera, it is SPECULATED THAT THE COMPENSATION IS BEING OBTAINED NOT IN DOLLARS, BUT IN RUPEES 2. The spokesperson of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority said that INSTEAD OF ALLOWING IT TO BE DRAGGED AWAY, A CERTAIN POWERFUL PERSON MADE SURE TO SINK THE SHIP WITHIN THE SRI LANKAN COAST. 3. I heard that HE BOARDED THE SHIP AT THE MOMENT THE FIRE STARTED TO MEET WITH THE OFFICERS.” AVATAR to turn burning containers of Plastic Pellets into GOLD!!?? POLITICIANS ARE BETTER DECISION MAKERS THAN PROFESSIONALS Let the triple gem BLESS Lanka!! PIN SIDDHA VEWA!!

    Mahila Friday, 11 November 2022 02:48 AM

    I heard that HE BOARDED THE SHIP AT THE MOMENT THE FIRE STARTED TO MEET WITH THE OFFICERS.” SL being SL, backed by 2600 years of Culture – not much, intellect and wisdom gathered – it is undoubtedly POLITICIAN (egoistic, bloated enthusiasm by votes garnered by fooling uneducated innocent voters that he is the ONLY SAVIOUR – that no professionals as capable as he is – making money by illegal means is the forte for emancipation of Sri Lanka!!!) Part and parcel of robber/Looter gang – self-evident in SL make ILL-GOTTEN MONEY!!! WHO WAS THE MINISTER OF SHIPPING?? Bhudham Saranang Gachchami!!! Sadhu! Sadhu!! Sadhu!!!

    DOROTHEA SCHUCHARDT Friday, 11 November 2022 03:00 AM

    It is really unbelevabal, how such a nature desaster can be covered! Another sign of corruption! In cases of corruptions, money making with cruel items will bring a country and this beatiful island to death. Hopefully this people and their children who make money with this desaster also die qickly with poison fishes!

    Concerned Friday, 11 November 2022 07:47 AM

    "If Sri Lanka can get more than six billion US$ in compensation for the damage caused by X-Press Pearl, the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) might not need the IMF loan." This makes no sense and is misleading. The $6B is compensation for environmental damage and should be used to clean up after the disaster and put systems in place to prevent future disasters...not to pay for the economic crisis. If this money (if we even get it) is used to help the economic crisis, then that's a misappropriation of funds which is what got us into this crisis in the first place.

    Sokrates Friday, 11 November 2022 09:05 AM

    Look at the piss-ingesting wanker Gota's Virgin Island account and you'll find the money.

    Mahila Saturday, 12 November 2022 06:15 AM

    what a Powerful piss- ingestion!!!!!?? what about Uganda???

    Mahila Saturday, 12 November 2022 06:15 AM

    what a Powerful piss- ingestion!!!!!?? what about Uganda???

    Citizen Friday, 11 November 2022 10:18 AM

    Isn't the President Ranil Wickremasinghe aware of this situation where no compensation has been obtained so far for this massive disaster that was caused to the country? He must call for an immediate report and take action against Politicians and Officials for any wrong doing including inaction.

    Mahila Saturday, 12 November 2022 06:38 AM

    Problem to be solved is that nobody ever was at fault - except Organic agriculture and US dollar devaluation - none should be found fault or corrected, which is western corrupted culture, which we don't follow - anathema to Sri Lankans!!! We follow the SUPERIOR 2600 years of SRI LANAKAN CULTURE - TIME TESTED - Reason we were under the yolk of the western colonists - 450 years!!!?? Credentials Galore!!? Backstabbing, Patricide is time honoured, Hobby! Try unscrambling, why SL in this BEGGAR state with STARVATION, DEPRIVATION!!!? MURDER PERMITTED, GALLOWS DISALLOWED!!! CONVERTED TO LIFE AND PARDONED!! PARADIGM OF DISASTER

    Ed Friday, 11 November 2022 12:26 PM

    Guess everyone involved are only trying to get an hand on the compensation rather trying to use the money to clean up the mess.

    DJ Friday, 11 November 2022 12:54 PM

    That’s a very easy answer, why is it even asked, everyone knows.

    UMAS Friday, 11 November 2022 05:48 PM

    Rajapaksa family already got the money

    KD Sunday, 13 November 2022 10:43 AM

    It makes no sense for government to not pursue the environmental damages. Estimated damages are $5 billion ! That is enough to fix our foreign exchange reserves crisis. It's much easier to go to court and sue X Press Pearl operator (X Press Feeders) which operates 100s of ships and can afford to pay this amount, than to crash economy and go to IMF. Clearly Singaporean company has bribed the government officials to not purse court cases. Its an absolute shame.

    L Phil Tuesday, 15 November 2022 12:40 AM

    Why can't the name of person who came on board ship be stated.?

    Sambo Tuesday, 15 November 2022 08:11 AM

    The Rajapaksh'a stole the compensation as it was done to the Tsunami funds.

    Get the compensation first. Wednesday, 16 November 2022 01:16 PM

    Mr. Concerned! You are harping on spending the money for cleaning the beach and not for the country! Good. The problem not a single rupee is seen by anyone. This is a good excuse for the fraudsters to further delay the settlement. Let us now ensure that the compensation is received in the nation.

    DOT Thursday, 17 November 2022 12:26 PM

    Relatives are buying lands!

    Sam Sen Saturday, 19 November 2022 08:21 PM

    I suspect that the whole incident is somewhat connected to port city project. This incident might be the first step as part of an expansion plan of the port city. Now that the sea water in that whole area is completely contaminated and became unsuitable for sea lives, so why not expand the port city??? May be another 100 year lease to China to payout portion of their debts. People involved in getting compensation should get the perpetrators to fully recover the sea area to its former condition.

    Jay Parera Thursday, 01 December 2022 06:04 PM

    where did the MiG 27's insurance fund go???


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