Although the captain of the sunken X-Press Pearl had informed the Colombo Port Harbor Master and his staff about the eruption of fire, it is doubtful whether they were reluctant for immediate action to douse the fire and let it spread with the intention of seeking compensation, President’s Counsel Sarath Jayamanne appeared for the captain of the ship has stated before the Fort Magistrate today (15).
He pointed out that the harbormaster and crew had been notified of the fire from time to time after the ship had anchored.
But when the fire broke out (on the 20th) the harbormaster was informed about this and about four hours later a team of four came with a fireguard to inspect the ship.
President’s Counsel Sarath Jayamanne has stated that they did not bring any fire protection equipment and returned without taking any action.
All conversations between the ship’s captain and the harbormaster are recorded in the data recorder established in the harbor master’s office.
It was emphasized that this would confirm whether the Captain’s statement was true or false. However, it has been revealed in court that the data recorder of the Harbor Master’s Office has not been checked so far.
Accordingly, the Magistrate today ordered the CID to obtain the data recorder and conduct further investigations and report to the court.
Mr. Jayamanne further stated that although the fire was first reported on the morning of the 20th, no action was taken on that day.
However, it was revealed that the captain had not taken adequate measures to put out the fire at that time and if it did not have the necessary facilities, it could have been towed away from the area before the fire spread.
Mr. Jayamanne told the court that there was a serious suspicion as to whether this had allowed the fire to burn.