X-Press Pearl disaster: Rs.1,605 Mn compensation disbursed in fourth round | Daily News

X-Press Pearl disaster: Rs.1,605 Mn compensation disbursed in fourth round

Will receive between Rs.112,500 to Rs.295,000

The fourth phase of payment of compensation for fishermen who were affected by the X-Press Pearl ship disaster was held under the patronage of Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda and State Minister Piyal Nishantha, at the Fisheries MinistryAuditorium yesterday (11).

Compensation cheques were symbolically distributed to 35 selected from the fishermen  and persons associated with the fishing industry in the Gampaha, Colombo and Kalutara districts who were affected by this accident.

Among them are the fishermen whose net gear was damaged due to various wastes that entered the maritime environment from the ship. Payment of compensation to all other beneficiaries by Divisional Secretariat offices in the the respective areas where they live, is scheduled to be carried out in the next few days.

For the fourth round of compensation, the insurance company of the ship had sent to the Government of Sri Lanka Rs.1,605 million and by the end of the fourth round of compensation payment, each fisherman who lost his livelihood will receive between Rs.112,500 to Rs.295,000 depending on the type of involvement in fishing.

Even fishermen engaged in fishing activities around the Negombo lagoon where the fishing ban was in effect for only for 22 days, will receive at least Rs.45,000 as compensation.

Rs. 3,068 million has been received on behalf of the damage caused to the net gear due to the various substances that entered the ocean environment from the X-Press Pearl ship, and the amount received in the first three rounds of Rs.1,463 million has been distributed to the fishermen who lost their livelihood, by now.

Persons engaged in indirect jobs related to fishing, such as fish sellers, dried fish makers, net gear sellers and boat repairers will also receive between Rs. 22,500 to Rs. 336,000 as compensation based on the type of job.

The Ministry of Fisheries has previously submitted six reports and compensation requests to the insurance company of the ship prepared by the committee appointed by the Ministry of Fisheries to investigate direct damages caused to the fishermen due to the Express Pearl ship accident. The first report was submitted within two weeks of the accident and the sixth report was submitted in July 2022. The final report prepared by this committee was handed over to Dhammika Ranatunga, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries and Director General of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Department Susantha Kahawatta as well as the to the Minister of Fisheries on this occasion. Speaking at this event, Minister Douglas Devananda said that the Express Pearl compensation should be used properly by these fishermen.

The Minister also said that since the time of the damage caused by the ship, the Ministry of Fisheries has been working to protect the fishermen and has taken steps to obtain compensation and distribute it to the fishermen in a fair manner. Minister Devananda said further that despite various political groups working for narrow political objectives and carrying out sabotage activities by criticizing the government’s activities, fishermen did not fall into such traps and returned to the fishing industry after being paid the compensation they deserve. Minister Devananda said that it is his duty to offer special thanks for the support of many ministers including Ministers Wijeyedasa Rajapaksa, Ali Sabry and Kanchana Wijesekera in working together as a government to obtain this compensation. He also said that steps will be taken to provide the maximum amount of compensation that can be obtained, to fishermen.

Fisheries State Minister Piyal Nishantha who commented during this occasion said that at the time of the Express Pearl incident, the Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda intervened on behalf of the fishermen regarding this tragic incident and worked to restore the livelihood of the fishermen as soon as possible.

At that time, all of us, according to his leadership and advice, contacted the fishing people and got in touch with the respective areas and provided maximum contribution to this cause.

Therefore, I offer my heartfelt respect especially to Minister Douglas Devananda and all other officials who worked on behalf of this purpose.

 


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