A repair project was announced earlier this month for a reef that was damaged by a cargo ship that ran aground it in 2021.
On 18th August 2021, the Panama registered supramax bulker ran around the Ranfari reef while en route to South Africa from India. Navios Amaryllis, a 623 ft long cargo ship’s engine failed and drifted towards the Ranfari reef bed.
The course of the incident is disputed. It was reported that the captain of the Amaryllis failed to send timely notice to officials about the engine failure. The master allegedly did not attempt to anchor or request help until it was too late.
The ship was refloated 10 days after it was grounded with the help of the Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) and a Sri Lankan tug boat. It was then detained by MNDF for investigation.
The ship owner was initially asked to pay MVR 893 million in fines and compensation after a reef assessment by Environment Protection Agency (EPA). However, the amount was later reduced to MVR 100 million in fines and MVR 154 million, [a total of USD 10 million].
The vessel’s owners appealed to reduce the fine to the Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Technology Aminath Shauna. However, after reviewing the matter the minister concluded not to change the EPA’s decision and the fine was paid after some intensive discussion between the ministry and the ship owner. The ship was released from detention in December 2021 after they made the payment.
“This is the first time in Maldives that a party responsible for causing damage to a reef has funded for it’s restoration,” EPA announced.
The fine is the largest environmental penalty that the government incurred for reef damages. this marked the first time where the compensation was collected with condition that it must be spent on reef restoration.