Colombo, Feb 2 (AdaDerana) – Clearance of debris from the ill-fated MV Express Pearl tanker which was ravaged by a massive fire last year, is expected to be completed within 120 days, says the Government Information Department.
The matter was taken up by the Minister of Justice during the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers held yesterday.
Accordingly, a supervisory committee consisting of representatives from relevant institutions has been appointed under the Director-General of Commercial Naval Secretarial to supervise the process to ensure that no oceanic pollution is caused during debris removal.
The Government Information Department also stated that the first instalment of compensation was paid to all the fishermen affected by the disaster.
Meanwhile, the ban imposed on fishing activities off the coast in Kalutara District has been lifted completely.
In addition, the restrictions imposed on fishing activities off the coast of Colombo and Gampaha districts are expected to be lifted once the debris clearing process is completed, the Government Information Department added.
It also stated that USD 3.7 million has been credited to the Sri Lankan government so far as a share of rights claimed by the Fisheries and Oceanic Environment Protection Authority and discussions are being held with P&I company for recovering the remaining rights.
Meanwhile, overseas laboratories have been directed to analyse the biological samples of oceanic life and other samples and the Sparke Helmore Lawyers of Australia is supplying legal instructions with regard to the claims on environmental devastation.