Eight accused, including the captain of the fire-ravaged container ship MV X-Press Pearl, who had been indicted before the Colombo High Court for causing damages to the country’s oceanic environment, today raised preliminary objections against the charges filed against them.

Defence counsel appeared on behalf of the accused, challenged the maintainability of the charges, and moved the court to expedite the trial.

High Court Judge Damith Thotawatta fixed the case for written objections on June 23.

The Attorney General had filed indictments against eight accused of committing offences under the Marine Pollution Prevention Act.

In this case, the Attorney General had named eight people as accused, including the captain of the container ship MV X-Press Perl, four other directors of Sea Consortium Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., and the local agent of the X-Press Perl vessel.

On May 20, 2021, the ‘MV X-Press Pearl,” which was en route from the Indian port of Hazira to Singapore with 1,486 containers, caught fire as it waited to enter Colombo harbour and remained anchored some 9.5 nautical miles north-west of Colombo, waiting to enter the port.