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X-Press Pearl’s insurer releases $2.5M for environmental cleanup

X-Press Pearl’s insurer releases $2.5M for environmental cleanup

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Partially-burned beads of plastic on a beach close to Colombo (Ashade Vos/ WHOI/ Oceanswell).

Published
Dec 22, 2021 9:51 PM by

The Maritime Executive

The insurer of X-Press Pearl has agreed that an additional $2.5 Million will be paid in damages for environmental damage resulting from the vessel’s sinking off Colombo in Sri Lanka in May.

The Marine Environment Protection Authority in Sri Lanka announced Wednesday, that the insurer would pay part of the government’s cleanup costs. The payment covers the costs incurred in June July and August and covers most of the government claims for that period. Dharshani Lamapura, chairperson of MEPA, told local media that $3.9 million was the total amount spent. However, more documentation is required. 

This payment is in addition a $3.6 million tranche that covered the cost for the initial salvage and environmental response. Separate negotiations are underway for compensation for fishermen who were impacted by the closure in the affected coastline area. Colombo Page reports that the negotiations are progressing well and that the insurer is open to the claim. 
 
X-Press PearlShe also sprayed an unknown amount of chemical cargo into the waters when she fell, along with 1,500 tonnes of plastic Nurdles, a small, bead-shaped bulk commodity used in the production of everyday plastic items. It was the largest known “plastic spillage”, according to the UN Environment Programme. Tonnes of this trash were also recovered from nearby beaches.

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Anna Michel, a WHOI scientist, and Asha de Vos, a Sri Lankan conservationist reported that cleanup poses a unique challenge in a study published in the journal ACS Environmental Au. The plastic cargo from X-Press Pearl It was released following a raging fire. A large portion of the waste is partially burned. This makes cleanup and assessment more difficult because of the difficulty in identifying and assessing the particles. According to the authors, some “don’t even appear like plastic anymore” and the environmental impact is not fully understood. 

The study warned that “The burnt nuggets span a continuum in colors, shapes, sizes and densities that could impact clean up efforts, alter transport within the ocean, and potentially impact wildlife.” 

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