Customs to repatriate 21 UK waste containers
By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
Director General of the Sri Lanka Customs, Retired Major General G.V. Ravipriya said they will soon be repatriating 21 waste containers that had arrived from the UK last year.
The decision was made on 22 September, according to him. He also said a total of 263 waste containers came to Sri Lanka, of which 130 (in 40 foot containers) had been cleared by the Hayleys Group and unloaded in the Katunayake Export Processing Zone. After the Court order, they have reloaded that waste into 330 containers (20 foot containers).
He also emphasised that the remaining containers are at the Chinese-run Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT) and at the South Asia Gateway Terminals (SAGT) of the Colombo Port. There are 133 containers inside the Colombo Harbour, of which we will be repatriating 21 soon, he added.
When queried as to who was responsible for the UK waste, he said, under the existing system, before cargo reaches Sri Lanka, the latter has to issue approval, and the matter is pending before Court. He added Maersk Shipping that brought the waste, will repatriate it to the UK.
He also said the CICT officials are demanding heavy demurrage for those containers that are at their terminal. “I called the CICT and Maersk to tell them that this is a national issue and to therefore be lenient over it. They said, they will discuss the matter and that very soon, the 21 containers will be sent back.”
Ravipriya also stated, though they are unable to trace the UK exporter, Sasikumar Muthuraman based in the UK and the importer Sasikumar who is in Sri Lanka are siblings. “Investigations are ongoing in this regard,” he said.