It was decided at a special meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat today (01) under the patronage of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to tow the wrecked X-PRESS PEARL Container Ship into the deep seas off the coast of Colombo.
Minister of Ports and Shipping Rohitha Abeygunawardena revealed all the details including the vessel’s route from the United Arab Emirates on May 09 to the arrival near the Port of Colombo on May 19.
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 and not on politics.
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.