Thursday, June 24, 2021

Environmentalists file lawsuit against Sri Lanka govt, MV X-Press Pearl operator over ship wreck

In Sri Lanka, a group of climate and fishermen activists has filed a lawsuit against the government and operator of MV X-Press Pearl over the ship wreck that caused severe damage to the environment.

A local newspaper reported that the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ), an environmental rights group and fishermen’s activists filed a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court yesterday.

The petitioners alleged that local authorities should have been able to prevent the fire onboard the MV X-Press Pearl, which was carrying hazardous chemicals and plastics and requested that necessary steps be taken to detain the ship’s captain and crew and that appropriate criminal and civil action be taken against the ship’s owners and their agents.

The petitioners also called on the government to make relevant laws and regulations to prevent such disasters in the future. The CEJ said the crew of the ship knew of an acid leak on 11th of May, long before entering Sri Lankan waters and local authorities should not have allowed the vessel in.

The Chief Executive Officer of the company that owns the X-Press Pearl ship expressed his regret over the incident while participating in a foreign media conference. The petitioners requested the top court to instruct the respondents to pay compensation to the fishermen and the fishing industry and compensate for losses incurred by the tourism industry and those involved in the tourism industry in the affected areas.

The Singapore registered cargo ship had sunk off the coast of Sri Lanka this week during an attempt to tow the vessel to deeper waters.

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