Justice Minister Ali Sabry, PC, said the time period given for submission of claims for the damage caused due to the fire on MV X-Press Pearl has been extended by two weeks, till July 2.
The Minister was speaking at a press briefing at his office on Monday on the latest developments of the aftermath of the sinking of the vessel last week.
The meeting held on the instructions of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was chaired by Minister Sabry and attended by Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Minister of Ports and Shipping, Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, State Minister of Urban Development, Coast Conservation and Waste Disposal, Kanchana Wijesekera, State Minister of Fisheries Harbor Affairs and Fisheries Exports.
“We are interested in paying compensation as soon as possible for all those who were affected by this unfortunate incident so that they can restart their lives,” Minister Sabry said, pointing out that the Government is also pursuing the claims from those who were responsible for the damage caused to human occupations as well as to the marine environment.
Sabry noted that three international experts are already working in the island to evaluate the financial and physical losses caused by this fire.
The three-member team is providing technical advisory support to the Sri Lankan experts on oil spill contingency planning, clean-up operations and environmental impact assessment, drawing on international best practices and lessons learned from similar incidents. They will work closely with Sri Lankan counterparts from Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA), National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA), Ministry of Environment, Central Environmental Authority (CEA), Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) and a host of other Government agencies.
The three experts include Dr. Stephane Le Floch from the France National Oil Response and Research Centre (CEDRE) who is a specialist in oil spill response and contingency planning, Dr. Camille La Croix also from CEDRE specializing in marine litter pollution and Luigi Alcaro from the Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA, Environment Ministry) who specializes in the environmental impact assessment of oil and hazardous noxious substance spills in the marine environment.
The team is led by Hassan Partow from the UNEPs Resilience to Disasters and Conflicts Global Support Branch (Ecosystems Division).