Sri Lankan Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera says that the MV X-Press Pearl ship disaster would have been possible to prevent if the crew onboard the cargo freighter had given accurate information about the fire at the initial stages.
“The Colombo Port is one of the best and accessible ports in the world. That was why the freighter sailed in to solve the issues that they were faced with. But there seemed to have been some delay in providing information. However, the President strongly advised the relevant sectors at the Cabinet meeting to ensure that such a situation should not be repeated in our maritime territory,” the Minister said.
The Minister further added that the President instructed us to inquire into the latest technological equipment that are being used in the event of an emergency in other ports in the world and to install them in the Port of Colombo as well. Most of the containers onboard the Express Pearl ship contained plastic pellets. But if such a fire had occurred onboard a ship that is carrying fuel, the situation would have been different.
“Therefore, the President instructed to take steps to strengthen the Disaster Management Division at the Ports and in the event a disaster encountered by ships in our port area as well as the crew of the ship, its resources and equipment to protect our marine environment and coast.
Due to the inferno and the tragedy that the ship had caused to the marine life, people in our country are still reluctant to consume fish. They believe that the burnt plastic and chemical properties on the freighter could still harm the human body. The relevant sections have not provided any scientific explanation as yet of those conditions. But the sections concerned should provide the correct information to the public,” he said.