Nov 26, Colombo: A Sri Lankan court Friday granted bail to the Captain and seven others of the ill-fated MV X-Press Pearl ship which caught fire and sank in Sri Lankan waters near the Colombo Port in May 2021.
Colombo High Court judge Damith Thotawatta handed over the indictments to the eight defendants including the captain of the ship and released them under strict bail conditions.
The judge ordered the release of the accused on two personal sureties of Rs. 1 million each and ordered them to refrain from influencing the witnesses in the case.
The judge also imposed a condition to report to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on the last Sunday of every month after the bail, and also imposed a travel ban on the defendants without the permission of the court until the end of the trial.
The defendants in the case Vitaly Tyutkalo, Russian captain of the container carrier MV X-Press Pearl, Arjuna Hettiarachchi, Managing Director at X-Press Feeders and Chairman of Sea Consortium Ltd., Board members Aminda Hettiarachchi, Panduka Weerasekera and Sanjeewa Samaranayake appeared before the court when the case was called yesterday.
After considering the facts presented after handing over the indictments against the defendants, the judge who issued the relevant orders ordered the case to be called again on the 9th of next month.
The Singapore-registered MV X-Press Pearl container ship carrying a hazardous chemical cargo caught fire on 20 May 2021 while at anchorage 9.5 nm off Colombo Harbor due to a chemical leak in a container and burned for 13 days before the fire was put out on 2nd June. The ship along with its hazardous cargo sank afterwards.