The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has said the bulk carrier that grounded on K. Rasfari reef can depart from the Maldives after paying a deposit of MVR 100 million.
Speaking to AVAS, an official from EPA said the agency wishes to assess the damages to Rasfari reef before the foreign vessel is allowed to depart from the Maldives. If the vessel wishes to depart before the damage is assessed, a deposit of MVR 100 million must be paid, said EPA. If the damages are less than the deposit amount, the difference will be returned to the vessel's owner.
According to the Environment Protection and Preservation Act of the Maldives, MVR 100 million is the highest amount that can be charged as a fine for damages for environment related offences.
Two 50 and 150 tonne tugs have been brought to the Maldives for the vessel refloating operation. Other equipment needed to ensure the safety of the delicate reef during the refloating process have been brought from Dubai and Mauritius.
The Panama-flagged bunker, MV Navios Amaryllis, ran aground west of Rasfari reef on August 19. The vessel's crew cited engine failure as the cause of the incident. However, several questions have been raised regarding the course of events that led to the incident. The vessel is currently detained in the Maldives.