Govt. seeking advice on Marine Disaster Preparedness System

Justice Minister, Ali Sabry

The Government is presently seeking advice from the United Nations’ Permanent Representative on establishing a Marine Disaster Preparedness System for Sri Lanka which will empower the country with preparedness for marine disasters such as the MV X-Press Pearl tragedy, Justice Minister Ali Sabry, PC said.

Minister Sabry made this observation in reply to a question asked by the Opposition Leader, Sajith Premadasa on the present situation of the X-Press Pearl investigation and compensation in Parliament yesterday, July 9.

The Minister also said that the compensation of US$ 40 million, which the Government recently received, was not a full compensation and that it was requested as an interim compensation by July 1 as per the instructions of the Attorney General.

Justice Minister Sabry also said that the Government is working with international organisations to obtain technical assistance to do the full calculations with regard to the compensation to be demanded for the tragedy.

“Due to the lack of experience in Sri Lanka in this regard, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is seeking the assistance of various countries such as the United States, Australia and Singapore,” Minister Ali Sabry pointed out.

The Justice Minister also said that the Ministry of Fisheries has made arrangements to distribute the interim compensation received for the fishermen through a special methodology.

“The fishing communities in Gampaha, Kalutara and Colombo will be given priority when compensation is distributed and as per a special request from His Eminence the Cardinal. Community representatives will be added to the Committee that is overseeing the compensation process,” Minister Sabry added.

The said compensation payments are due to begin next week, Minister Sabry noted.

A separate committee consisting of the President’s Counsel and several attorneys has been appointed to study all matters pertaining to getting all evidence in line to be produced to get further compensation from the ship’s company and its insurance dealers.

“This Committee is working to provide technically proven, scientifically proven information or else we shall not be able to fully recover the compensation that the country deserves,” Minister Sabry also said.