The Centre for Environmental Justice today filed a Fundamental Rights petition in Supreme Court seeking an order directing the authorities to conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the fire on board the Mv X-press Pearl.

This petition had been filed by the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ), its Executive Director Hemantha Withanage, and two others including a traditional fisherman living in Negombo.

Minister of Ports and Shipping Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Marine Environment Protection Authority, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Chairman of Port Authority Daya Ratnayake, Central Environmental Authority, State Minister Nalaka Godahewa, Environment Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, X-press Feeders Company Sea Consortium Lanka (Pvt) Ltd and several others as respondents.

The petitioners are further seeking an order directing the Attorney General to prosecute all State Officials who have wilfully failed to perform their statutory and regulatory duties.

The petitioners are also seeking an order directing X-Press Feeders Company (Represented by its local Agent Sea Consortium Lanka (Pvt) Ltd) and Sea Consortium Lanka (Pvt) Ltd to pay compensation to the environmental damage and pollution caused to the marine and coastal ecology of Sri Lanka and the atmosphere under the ‘Polluters Pay Principle and the failure to act according to the expected standards of the Precautionary Principle.

Petitioners state that the blazing ship and the chemical spill and plastic pellets have already caused untold, irreversible and irremediable damage to Sri Lanka’s marine ecosystem and pristine beaches, including popular tourist destinations, which beaches are thickly coated in plastic pellets. These plastic pellets used to make plastic bags are fatal to marine life and Dead Sea turtles and fish have already begun washing up to beaches and fears are arising of an unprecedented catastrophe.


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