Action taken would not depend on company status, country: PO

The government has said it would not consider the country or status of a company in taking action against the company for damages caused. The government made the statement regarding the damages caused to the Villimale' reef after a platform used for the Thila-Male' Bridge ran aground the reef.

A platform used by Indian company AFCONS ran aground the Villimale' reef on August 16. The platform was removed on August 27, 11 days after it ran aground, amid public criticism over the delay in refloating the platform. The damage caused to the reef as a result of the incident became evident when the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) publicized photographs of the reef before and after the accident.

Presidential Spokesperson Miuwan Mohamed told at a news conference held Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will take measures in accordance with laws and regulations.

"As I said earlier, we would not treat the matter any differently based on which company is involved or from where it is. If there are steps to be taken within the legal framework, they will be taken accordingly. EPA will handle it," Miuwan said.

The spokesperson said it was difficult to give an exact date for the action as it is the EPA's responsibility to take action on environmental issues.

Photos released by the EPA show four large holes in the reef. The EPA believes that the reef was damaged by platform legs, or "anchor spuds." One of the holes in the reef was significantly deeper than the others.

The Thila-Male' bridge project is the Maldives' second overwater bridge. The 6.695 km bridge project is funded by the Government of India. The bridge is being built with a $100 million grant from India and a $400 million loan from Exim Bank. The entire project will cost MVR 7.7 billion.