X-Press Feeders makes first compensation payment to Sri Lankan government

The X-Press Pearl has started to sink

X-Press Feeders has made an initial payment of $3.6 million to the Sri Lankan government following the fire and the sinking of the X-Press Pearl.

The operator of the container ship made the payment through insurer London P&I Club.

“Discussions are ongoing on the payment of further claims and all legitimate claims will be considered,” X-Press Feeders wrote in statement on 12 July.

“We continue to contribute to the clean-up and pollution mitigation efforts, having flown in additional oil spill response assets on a chartered flight from Malaysia in response to a request from the UN-EU team in Colombo.”

At the wreck site, the statement continued, caretaker salvors remain on a 24-hour watch to deal with any debris and report any form of a spill with drones deployed daily to help with the monitoring activities.

“Representatives of The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) and Oil Spill Response continue to monitor updates from the scene and are ready to respond immediately, if required,” the company added.

“Our seafarers remain housed at a hotel in Colombo, awaiting permission to travel back to their anxious families and loved ones. Having endured the trauma and stress of the fire on board and an evacuation that caused injuries to their ranks, they have now been in lockdown for over six weeks.

“We are working closely with Sri Lankan authorities through our local lawyers with regard to crew’s repatriation as soon as possible.”

In a tweet, State Minister of Fisheries Kanchana Wijesekera wrote that compensation for fishermen affected by the disaster will be deposited into bank accounts from 12 July.

Beneficiaries of the compensation will be verified by officials from fisheries, divisional secretariats, and fishing associations, Wijesekera added.

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