The Indian High Commission in Colombo has refuted recent media reports claiming that the Indian Government has sought compensation from Sri Lanka over the assistance extended during the X-Press Pearl and MT New Diamond maritime disasters.
The statement issued by the High Commission is as follows.
The High Commission of India has come across media reports which suggest that Government of India has demanded compensation/damages from Government of Sri Lanka towards the assistance provided during the fire incidents onboard MT New Diamond and MV Xpress Pearl in September 2020 and May-June 2021. Such reports are completely false and incorrect.
It may be recalled that Government of India immediately deployed ships of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) in response to specific requests from Sri Lanka Navy for providing expeditious assistance to fight the fire incidents onboard MT New Diamond and MV Xpress Pearl. Rescue operations conducted by these ships were instrumental in curtailing the hazardous effects of the two fire incidents and thereby limiting the damage on the maritime and marine environment of Sri Lanka.
In line with ‘Polluter Pay Principle’ as per international norms, we have raised a claim for deployment, salvage activities and items/stores undertaken by these ships. Government of Sri Lanka has been requested to join our claims with that of the Sri Lankan side in the respective forum. It is emphasized that the request has been for presenting these claims to the Insurer/Owner for settlement and reimbursing the compensation received through established channels.
It is reiterated that India has not demanded any damages/compensation from Government of Sri Lanka and Government of India’s immediate deployment of ships are in line with ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and Security And Growth for All (S.A.G.A.R) doctrine.