Some Rs 911 million ($2.5 million) has been paid to the Sri Lankan government as part of an ongoing compensation scheme following the devastating X-Press Pearl fire last year.
The payment, the third and largest so far, was paid from an insurance company to compensate more than 15,000 fishermen who had their work halted for weeks following the disaster in May 2021.
Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda instructed the officials including Ministry Secretary Indu Ratnayake to distribute the amount among 15,032 fishermen identified in Gampaha, Colombo and Kalutara districts.
Earlier in the scheme Sri Lanka received Rs. 348 million and Rs. 335 million as compensation under the first and the second tranches respectively.
With the third compensation payment, all fishermen affected by the X-Press Pearl ship accident will have been given Rs. 80,000 ($219) to Rs. 240,000 ($658) in total compensation so far.
After the shipwreck, a fishing ban was imposed in the area from Negombo to Panadura for the safety of fishermen, their gear and vessels and to prevent the possible effects of catching and consuming fish from the affected area.
On 20 May 2021, a fire broke out on the 2,700 TEU X-Press Pearl off the coast of Colombo, Sri Lanka. The fire burned for a total of 13 days and was caused by unattended leaking containers.
The fire caused fishing to be prohibited in large areas along the coastline of Sri Lanka, waste to be washed up on beaches, and the death of a considerable amount of marine life.
By 23 July 2021, a total of 307 animals were found dead.