Grounded vessel successfully refloated

The cargo carrier that grounded on Rasfari reef, MV Navios Amaryllis has been successfully refloated.

The Panama-flagged bunker 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.

Two 50 and 150 tonne tugs were brought to the Maldives for the refloating operation. Other equipment needed to ensure the safety of the delicate reef during the refloating process were brought from Dubai and Mauritius.

A statement issued by the Transport Ministry on Sunday said the 600 ft long, 32,000 metric tonne vessel ran aground Rasfari reef at approximately 3:00 am on August 19. The vessel was successfully refloated at 2:08 pm on Sunday, it said, further noting that no chemicals that could harm the environment leaked from the vessel during the process. The low-sulfur IFO in the lower bunkers of the vessel were successfully transferred to upper bunkers as previously planned, the statement said.

The Transport Ministry said the vessel has now been taken to the Port Limited area, and Accident Investigation is ongoing. The Environment Protection Agency and the Coast Guard will shortly begin their assessment to identify damages caused to the reef due to the incident, the ministry said.

Although the vessel has been refloated, it will remain detained in the Maldives until investigation is concluded. However, the vessel's owners have been given the option to pay a deposit of MVR 100 million, which would allow the vessel to depart from the Maldives before investigation is concluded. 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.