SJB calls for investigation to establish liability – The Island

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… appreciates the assistance of the UN in determining the damages

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Samagi Jana Balavegaya spokesman Mujibur Rahman said the government should explain why no specific investigation has been launched to identify the failure of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and others to stave off the threat asked by X-Press Pearl. carrying a leaking nitric acid container.

Referring to the recent statement by the Ministry of Justice regarding the formation of four committees to investigate specific issues caused by the destruction of the vessel in Sri Lankan territorial waters northwest of the port of Colombo, Deputy Rahman said that controversy surrounded the decision not to review the responses.

Noting that the president of the SLPA, Daya Ratnayaka, had been appointed last Friday (18) as the new secretary of the Ministry of Industry in place of Anusha Palpita in front of Lanka Phosphate Company reporting to the Minister of Industry Wimal Weerawansa and the Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage MP Rahman said the handling of X-Press Pearl was questionable.

Former army chief Ratnayaka has been replaced by Captain Nihal Keppetipola as SLPA chairman with Upul Jayatissa appointed as the new director general.

Lawmaker Rahman stressed that it would be of critical importance to establish whether the SLPA and other state institutions responded to the threat as intended. Asked to explain, MP Rahman pointed out that the Navy owed a plausible clarification for which Indian help was only sought in the afternoon of June 25, more than six hours after an explosion on the ship. unfortunate.

According to the MP, the Indian high commission made the revelation in a statement released ahead of the deployment of its assets in support of Sri Lanka. Noting that an SLPA team had boarded the X-Press Pearl on the afternoon of June 20, the day after the ship anchored outside Colombo port, MP Rahman asked SLPA and the Ministry of Maritime Transport to explain the measures taken to neutralize the threat.

Lawmaker Rahman appreciated the government’s decision to seek help from the international community in assessing the environmental impact of the X-Press Pearl disaster. A UN team of oil and chemical spill experts, provided by the European Union (EU), is in the country. The team is made up of Dr Stéphane Le Floch, Dr Camille La Croix and Luigi Alcaro. The team is led by Hassan Partow of the Global Disaster and Conflict Resilience Support Branch of UNEP (Ecosystems Division).

MP Rahman said the SLPA and the Department of Navigation had refrained from challenging The Island’s revelation that the SLPA did not have the means to fight a ship fire. SLPA only had one firefighting tug called Megha and two tugs were hired from Ceylon Shipping Company, MP Rahman said, adding that according to The Island, even the X-Press crew has was rescued by a tug belonging to the private company.

Lawmakers questioned whether the fire could have been avoided if tangible steps had been taken to bring the ship into port and remove the leaking container. Stating that the incident exposed the pathetic situation of the port of Colombo despite being considered a major port, MP Rahman suggested that a Select Parliamentary Committee (PSC) be required to examine the incident. The SJB spokesman said Transport Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena’s response to the X-Press Pearl incident as well as the SLPA failure underscored the need for an unrestricted investigation.

Lawmaker Rahman said the SJB was closely monitoring Justice Minister Ali Sabry, the PC and Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam handling the incident and the case filed by the Center for Environmental Justice moving the Supreme Court regarding the destruction of X-Press Pearl.

MP Rahman alleged that those responsible for ensuring the safety and security of ships in Sri Lankan waters have clearly failed the country.

On June 16, the Colombo High Court granted bail to Sea Consortium Lanka President Arjuna Hettiarachchi, arrested by CID the same day following the revelation that his organization had deliberately withheld information about the container that was fleeing, although she was alerted by the captain of the hapless ship.

The SJB MP insisted that an unrestricted investigation was needed to establish the truth. Instead of a proper investigation, some ministers and officials engaged in a media circus intended to deceive the public.



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