On 30th September, Prabhakaran, Colombo Additional Magistrate, ordered to lift the travel ban that was imposed on three seafarers from MV X-Press Pearl. MV X-Press Pearl, a Singapore-flagged cargo ship, had caught on fire in water of Sri Lanka on 20th of May while carrying cargo that took in some toxic chemicals.
The Additional Magistrate asked that the ban on travelling be lifted and allowed the Filipino, Indian, and Chinese Nationals to travel internationally as investigations have been completed, on considering Deputy Solicitor General Madhava Tennakoon’s request. Lochani Abeywickrema, Colombo Additional Magistrate, on considering a request from the CID, had hitherto mandated a travel ban on 25 people, taking in the ship’s captain; and 14 individuals had their travel ban lifted. The Additional Magistrate ordered that the case should be adjourned until 25 October, 2021.
The Singapore flag registered ship X-Press Pearl was carrying 1486 containers laden with 25 tons of nitric acid and other chemicals. It reported an acid leak on 20th May which caused the fire. However, there was no evidence of an oil spill. After burning for almost 13 days, the ship sank on June 2nd, off the Colombo port in Sri Lanka.
The leaked acid can cause a hazardous impact on the Marine Environment. Caracas of turtles, fishes and sea birds have been found on the beaches.
The Captain of the vessel was arrested on 14th June, and was released a day later on a $10,000 personal bond after being produced in the Colombo High Court.