On 28th April, Ajith Mannapperuma, Chair of the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Environment, instructed the officials of the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) to develop a guideline setting out action to be taken in the event of a disaster, such as the X-Press Pearl Maritime Disaster.
n particular, according to local news, Ajith Mannapperuma instructed the Marine Environmental Protection Authority to carry out the amendment to the Marine Pollution Prevention Act as soon as possible so that it has the legal strength required to respond promptly and obtain compensation as the main institution responsible for dealing with such a disaster.
The Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) is the apex body responsible for the prevention, controlling, and managing pollution in Sri Lanka’s marine environment and is the enforcing agency of the laws and provisions stipulated in the Marine Pollution Prevention Act No.35 of 2008.
In the event, participants also discussed the necessity of setting up a separate fund to provide necessary funds until compensation is received in the event of such a disaster. The Committee pointed out that this fund can be increased with a small amount of tax collected from the ships coming to Sri Lanka.
A representation of subject experts, scholars, representatives of environmental organizations and officials representing the Marine Environment Protection Authority were called to the Sectoral Oversight Committee on Environment, Natural Resources & Sustainable Development for the purpose of looking into the environmental and other damages caused pertaining to the X-Press Pearl maritime disaster and the due compensation.
In the recent meeting held between the Attorney General and experts in the legal field, no agreement was reached regarding the transfer of the case related to this incident to Singapore based on a decision taken at the last meeting of this Committee.
..stated Dr. Dan Malika Gunasekera, an expert on ocean law.
He also pointed out that the report of the Committee made up of legal experts appointed by the Maritime Environmental Protection Authority earlier stated that it is appropriate to file a case in Sri Lanka.
The prosecution was delayed in relation to the earlier New Diamond disaster and that the prosecution took place two days before the expiry of the period related to the prosecution.
..said Professor Ruchira Kumarathunga.