Sri Lanka will file legal action in the Singapore High Court tomorrow seeking compensation over the 2021 X-Press Pearl disaster, Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam said.
The Attorney General’s Department had earlier noted Singapore would be the appropriate forum to institute a claims action pertaining to the X-Press Pearl disaster given that the defendants of the prospective litigation, including the vessel’s registered owner, operator and managers, have a business presence in Singapore as companies domiciled there.
It had further noted the move would attract international attention to the full extent and gravity of the long-term damage caused to Sri Lanka’s maritime environment by plastic nurdle pellets discharged from the ship.
The decision to file legal action in Singapore has been controversial however, with some legal experts and State agencies saying Sri Lanka’s court structure would be more conducive for authorities to prove their case regarding the worst maritime disaster in Sri Lanka’s history.
The Singapore-flagged container vessel was carrying 1488 containers when it caught fire off Colombo on May 20, 2021. A total of 81 containers with dangerous goods, including 25 tonnes of nitric acid, 348 tonnes of oil and up to 75 billion small plastic pellets known as nurdles, were on board.