Home News MV X-Press Pearl fiasco unfolds: CID is going against is jurisdiction- lawyers claim

MV X-Press Pearl fiasco unfolds: CID is going against is jurisdiction- lawyers claim

MV X-Press Pearl fiasco unfolds: CID is going against is jurisdiction- lawyers claim
Lawyers representing owners of MV X-Press Pearl refuted claims that they hid information before entering Sri Lankan waters. During a court hearing yesterday (7), they said that all information was passed to the relevant authorities.
The lawyers said the messages were recorded on the Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) found on the ship and this could be verified by checking it. They added that the Sri Lanka Ports Authority has a device for recording messages transmitted by ships and that the CID can initiate an investigation to inspect it.

Captain and crew, a no show

The captain of the ship, the chief engineer and the second engineer were earlier summoned by the Colombo Magistrate’s Court yesterday, but they failed to appear. CID requested the court to re-issue notices to 10 people including the three of them.
Additional Solicitor General of the Attorney General’s Department Madhava Tennakoon appeared with the CID on behalf of the complainant. President’s Counsel Sarath Jayamanne, President’s Counsel Anura Meddegoda and a team of lawyers appeared on behalf of the ship’s captain and the ship’s Sri Lankan agent.

The Magistrate’s Court has no jurisdiction 

President’s Counsel Sarath Jayamanne objected to the CID requesting the court to re-issue a notice to the ship’s captain and his crew.
“According to the quarantine law, these people should be quarantined for two weeks. During the quarantine period, the CID had obtained statements from them that violated the quarantine law,” he said.
Mr. Jayamanne also stated that according to the Prevention of Marine Pollution Act No. 35 of 2008 (MEPA) the Magistrates’ Court does not have the power to investigate and they can only be issued with notices from the High Court.
The President’s Counsel emphasized that the CID is not acting within its jurisdiction and instead is trying to bring the captain and others to justice using other means.

Sri Lankan authorities showcase incompetence

The President’s Counsel said that Sri Lankan institutions are taking legal action against several people, including the ship’s captain, to cover up their incompetence.
He added Sri Lanka was in a good position in the world shipping industry but now the country’s reputation has been tarnished by failing to act promptly to put off the fire.
He also said that if the captain and the crew are produced in court, no vessel would arrive at the country without thinking twice, and also the  insurance premium for ships entering Sri Lanka will be increased in the future, which could also affect the port’s activities.

Nothing hidden 

CID informed the court that certain information regarding the incident had been withheld without informing Sri Lanka. The lawyers denied that allegation completely. The lawyers said that all the information about the ship had been informed and that no information had been withheld, adding that it could be verified by inspecting the ship’s VDR device or by inspecting the Ports Authority’s equipment.


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