Oct 27 (UCAN) A cardinal has urged the Sri Lankan government to sue for damage to beaches, the seabed, marine animals, fishermen and the environment caused by a shipwreck.
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said it is the responsibility of the government to bring the sea and the fishing community back to normalcy after the damage caused by the Singapore-registered X-press Pearl container vessel, which caught fire off the Sri Lankan coast on May 20.
"The shipping company, insurance agents and other parties should not be allowed to spend as little as they want and flee from the real expense of the damage," he said.
"Fix the damage caused by these companies and recover the fine required to remove it. Go to the international court seeking damages from the wrecked X-press Pearl."
He was speaking on Oct. 26 while inspecting Sarakkuwa beach in Pamunugama, which was polluted by the accident.
The X-Press Pearl caught fire off the coast of Colombo on May 20 and blazed for several days. It was transporting 1,486 containers from the Middle East with stops in India and Sri Lanka during its voyage to Singapore.
Why was this ship on fire for days? Why didn’t responsible officers talk to the shipping company to take immediate action to avoid the damage?
Among its cargo was 25 tons of nitric acid along with other chemicals. After burning for 12 days, the vessel sank on June 2.
Several containers washed ashore from the X-press Pearl, which was anchored about 9.5 nautical miles from Colombo port.
According to environmentalists, nitrogen oxide has been released into the air and sea in large quantities, increasing the risk of acid rain.
Ven. Pahiyangala Ananda Sagara Thera and a group of environmentalists were also present at Sarakkuwa beach when Cardinal Ranjith arrived. Officials of the Maritime Environmental Protection Authority (MEPA) were also there.