X-Press Feeders, operators of the burnt containership X-Press Pearl, through the vessel owner’s P&I insurers, have made an initial payment of $3.6m to the Sri Lankan government to help compensate those affected by the consequences of the fire and sinking of the vessel off the west coast of Sri Lanka.
The $3.6m of the initial interim claim of $40m will be spent on locating the remaining sunken containers from the ship and compensating the fisheries sector.
In an update, X-Press Feeders urged the local authorities to allow the vessel’s crew to be allowed to go home.
“Our seafarers remain housed at a hotel in Colombo, awaiting permission to travel back to their anxious families and loved ones. Having endured the trauma and stress of the fire on board and an evacuation that caused injuries to their ranks, they have now been in lockdown for over six weeks,” X-Press Feeders stated.
Investigators arrested seven employees of the ship’s local agent yesterday. Arjuna Hettiarachchi, the chairman of Setmil Group, the local agent of X-Press Feeders, was arrested earlier as speculation mounted that his company had tried to cover up information about the vessel in the wake a fire starting onboard. The ship’s captain had also been arrested and released on bail.