Colombo, July 13: The Sri Lankan government said it would compensate local fishermen who were affected by the burning of the X-Press Pearl container ship in May, from an interim claim of $40 million it hopes to claim from the vessel's operators.

In a statement on Monday, State Minister of Fisheries Kanchana Wijesekera said the compensation would be deposited to the fishermen's bank accounts, reports Xinhua news agency.  Sri Lanka Begins Criminal Probe on Burning X-Press Pearl Container Ship; Questions Captain, Chief Engineer and Crew

He said beneficiaries of the compensation will be verified by officials from the fisheries, divisional secretariats and fishing associations.

The Sri Lankan fishermen were one of the worst affected by the burning of the X-Press Pearl vessel last month which caused a massive environmental disaster.

The government has confirmed that 176 turtles, four whales, and 20 dolphins had died and washed ashore on the country's beaches up to July 7 as a result of the disaster.

The Singapore-flagged X-Press Pearl ship was carrying 1,486 containers with 25 tonnes of nitric acid and several other chemicals and cosmetics from the port of Hazira, India on May 15.

The vessel sent out a distress call while being close to the Colombo Port on May 20, and soon caught fire.

A criminal probe is presently underway in finding out how the fire on board the container ship started.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 13, 2021 01:00 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website