President instructs to tow ‘X-PRESS PEARL’ vessel into deep seas

Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has instructed officials a short while ago to tow the X-PRESS PEARL container ship into deep seas off the Colombo Harbour.

The decision comes following a meeting with high level officials and the President.

Minister of Ports and Shipping Rohitha Abeygunawardena Tuesday informed the President of all details surrounding the vessel including its route from the UAE on the 19th of May to Sri Lanka.

Representatives from a number of fields, including shipping and the environment, pointed out that the vessel was at risk of sinking.

“Their suggestion, then, was to take the vessel to the deep seas to minimize possible damage to the marine environment.”

Accordingly, the President gave instructions to issue an immediate order to tow the vessel into the deep seas based on the powers vested with the Chairman of the Marine Environment Protection Authority and based on technical facts as well as the advice of the Attorney General.

The President stated that the decision taken should be based solely on technical facts.

Ministers Douglas Devananda, Mahinda Amaraweera, State Minister Kanchana Wijesekera, Nalaka Godahewa, Attorney General Sanjaya Rajaratnam, Secretary to the President P. B. Jayasundera, Defence Secretary General (Retired) Kamal Gunaratne, Commanders of the Navy and Air Force and the officials of Ports Authority, Marine Environment Protection Authority, NARA and other line institutions were also present.