The Sri Lankan government has made the first compensation claim against X-Press Feeders, owner of X-Press Pearl, which burned and sank off the Sri Lankan shore three weeks ago.
An interim claim of USD 40 million has now been sent to the Singapore-based container group. The sum is to cover costs for extinguishing the fire on board X-Press Pearl, damages to fishing in the area as well as clean-up work as of June 1, informs Dharshani Lahandapura, chair of the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA), to ShippingWatch.
In an email, Lahandapura also states that this is only the first claim. Once the full extent of the environmental damages has been accounted for, more claims will ensue.
The chair also confirms that the initial claim is for USD 40 million.
The clean-up work is headed by MEPA in collaboration with the Sri Lankan army and navy. The Sri Lankan authority is also assisted by the International Tanker Owners' Pollution Federation, ITOPF, in monitoring for oil spills.
Last week, ShippingWatch reported that pollution in the form of burnt debris had spread in a radius of 150 km from the sunk wreckage, while no oils spills had been reported.
Lahandapura confirms to ShippingWatch that no oil spills have been observed thus far.
"There is no bunker oil spill as of yet. But the Marine Environment Protection Authority is watching the situation very closely, taking samples daily by MEPA officials and send them for analytical testings, and getting aerial footage as well," Lahandapura says.
The clean-up work is extensive, and Lahandapura informs that ITOPF representatives have estimated the clean-up work to take at least six months.
A investigation of the incident has been launched, and a lawsuit against X-Press Feeders is underway.