Four years after the MV X-Press Pearl container ship caught fire in Sri Lankan waters, local authorities continue to take a snail-paced approach to file a compensation claim. The inferno is reported as the single worst incident of chemical and plastic pollution at sea.
But despite mounting evidence of the damage that was caused to the marine environment, the Attorney General’s Department received cabinet approval to file a case in Singapore and not in Sri Lanka. This decision has been taken against the stance taken by maritime legal experts who have repeatedly said that Sri Lanka’s jurisdiction is well-equipped to handle the claim.
However, local authorities are of the view that newer maritime laws would be applied if the case is heard in Singapore as the country is being considered a maritime hub. But parties who have been awaiting justice feel that this attempt would dissolve their efforts to even claim USD 6.2 billion, the compensation estimate calculated as at now. (Kamanthi Wickramasinghe)