The Government on Monday said steps are underway to seek international legal experts to lodge proper claims over the damages caused to the environment by the cargo vessel X-Press Pearl in Sri Lankan waters.
Justice Minister Ali Sabry PC said the selection for obtaining international legal assistance was being done by a special committee and approval of the Cabinet of Ministers would be obtained for the qualified international legal firm.
Minister Sabry revealed the latest developments when he chaired a meeting on Monday to discuss the issue of compensation for the damage caused to Sri Lanka by the fire and subsequent sinking of the Singapore-registered cargo ship.
The Minister inquired about the progress of the investigations into the incident and said that the relevant steps were being taken in coordination with the Foreign Ministry.
Compensation is currently being credited to the bank accounts of the fishermen in the Western Province who lost their jobs due to the fire, and the Government has decided to compensate the fishermen affected in other districts after considering the accuracy of the information received, the Minister said.
Attention was also drawn to the clean-up of beaches polluted by the fire, the legal status of compensation, the payment of compensation to fishermen, the death of marine life, and the assistance of international lawyers.
Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera, State Ministers Mohan Silva, Kanchana Wijesekera, Attorney General Sanjaya Rajaratnam, Secretary to the Ministry of Justice M.M.P.K. Mayadunne, secretaries to the ministries, officials and lawyers were present at the discussion.