EPA to seek at least MVR 900 mln as compensation for reef damage

The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking atleast MVR 900 million as compensation for damages caused due to cargo vessel, MV Navios Amaryllis grounding on Rasfari reef.

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 was successfully refloated on August 22, and remains detained in the Maldives until the accident is investigated.

When asked regarding the investigation, EPA's Director General Ibrahim Naeem said the survey conducted on the damaged reef was concluded this week. While a one hectare area of the reef sustained significant damage, the reef's shape and biodiversity were also affected, said Naeem.

Naeem said the owners of the vessel would have to pay atleast MVR 900 million as compensation. EPA will announce the action it would take on the vessel in the coming days, he added.

An official from the Transport Ministry said the vessel cannot set sail from the Maldives unless MVR 100 million and an additional MVR 914 million is paid. However, the vessel's owners have not spoken regarding making a payment thus far, he added.

'As we have been told the vessel's engine has malfunctioned, we have arranged for a tug boat to monitor the vessel. The vessel is anchored in a very safe area,' the official said.