Colombo is still assessing the total damage with the claim representing expenses from May 20 to June 1, according to authorities.
Sri Lanka is seeking a $ 40 million interim claim from the operator of a fire-wrecked cargo ship that sank off the coast of the country to cover part of the cost of fighting the fire, they said Saturday officials.
The Sri Lankan Attorney General has sent the complaint to lawyers representing X-Press Feeders, the ship’s operating company, said Darshani Lahandapura, head of the State Marine Environmental Protection Authority.
He said authorities were still assessing the total damage and that the interim lawsuit is seeking compensation for expenses as of May 20, when the ship caught fire until June 1.
The MV X-Press Pearl, with Singapore flag it began to sink on June 2, a day after authorities extinguished the fire.
Last week, experts recovered the data logger of the ship affected by the fire.
The fire broke out while the ship was anchored about 18.5 kilometers northwest of the capital, Colombo, waiting to enter the country’s main port.
The Sri Lankan navy believes the flame was caused by the ship’s chemical load, which included more than 22 tonnes of nitric acid and other chemicals, most of which were destroyed by fire. But the rubbish, including burnt fiberglass and tons of plastic pellets, has already polluted nearby beaches.
There is concern that a spill of the rest of the chemicals and oil on the ship could devastate marine life.
However, Sri Lankan authorities and the ship’s operator say there is still no major oil spill.
The fire burned for 13 days before being extinguished last week. Attempts to tow it to deeper waters failed when the stern of the ship sank to the bottom of the sea.
The ship remains partially submerged in waters about 21 meters deep.
On Friday, the government said it was testing water samples to determine if the ship was leaking oil. The tests were motivated by satellite images from Planet Labs Inc that showed a substance that could be oil in water near the ship.
A Colombo court has banned the captain, chief engineer and assistant engineer from leaving the country.