He stated that the CID has taken charge of the investigations into the fire onboard the ‘MV X-Press Pearl’ vessel, a Singapore-flagged cargo ship that caught fire off Colombo and caused one of the worst marine ecological disasters the country has seen.
He said that initially the Deputy General Manager of the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) had made a complaint at the Colombo Harbour Police Station on May 23 in respect of the incident.
Accordingly, the Colombo Harbour Police initiated investigations and facts had been reported to the Colombo Magistrate’s Court while samples were sent to the Government Analyst’s Department on the orders of the court.
However, the CID took charge of the investigation yesterday and a special team, consisting of 10 officers including three Chief Inspectors and an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), has been deployed to conduct the investigation, he said.
The team is conducting investigations on the instructions of the Director and the DIG of the Criminal Investigations Department, the police spokesman said.
He added that the CID team will today record statements from the Captain of the vessel as well as its Chief Engineer, who are staying at a hotel in the Wellawatte area.
The CID team will also record statements from the other crew members of the vessel in due course, DIG Ajith Rohana said.
In addition to that another police investigation is being carried out in respect of the incidents reported from Pamunugama, Kochchikade, Negombo and Dungalpitiya police areas, where a large number of public gatherings had been observed in the beaches of those areas with people violating quarantine rules and regulations and collecting harmful items that had been discarded from the ship and washed ashore.
A separate investigation in being carried out regarding such incidents while the investigative team is led by the SSP Negombo, the police spokesman said.