A case filed by the fishing community demanding compensation from the owners, operator, and insurer of the vessel M.V. X-Press Pearl and the responsible authorities in Sri Lanka for failure to discharge their duties to avoid the X-Press Pearl Maritime Disaster was yesterday fixed for October 19 by the Colombo Commercial High Court.

Eighteen fishermen, the office bearers and trustees of the All Ceylon Fisher Folk Trade Union and other respective fisher folk societies filed this case claiming $ 1.17 billion from respondent parties, including EOS RO Private Limited, the registered owner of the X-Press Vessel, Sea Consortium Private Limited (a third-party operator), X-Press Feeders Limited (the ship manager), and Sea Consortium Lanka Pvt. Ltd., the local agent for the Sea Consortium Private Limited, for the damages caused to the Plaintiffs and the members of the trade union island-wide by the said vessel and other damages arising out of the M.V. X-Press Pearl and other incidental losses and damages.

When the matter came before Colombo Commercial High Court Judge Pradeep Hettiarachchi, the plaintiffs were given further time to amend the papers. Counsel Himali Kularatne, appearing for the plaintiffs, sought further time to amend the papers pertaining to the plaint.

In their complaint, the fishermen state that the livelihoods of 20,000 fishing families were impacted as a result of this marine disaster. In addition, many others whose livelihoods are dependent on allied fishing activities, from net manufacturers to boat owners, are also affected to varying degrees.

They alleged that as a consequence of the Defendants jointly and severally negligent conduct, the Plaintiffs and the entire fishing community of Sri Lanka, including the Plaintiffs, have incurred revenue losses and other damages.