Transport Ministry and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated that the Panama-flagged cargo ship that ran aground on the reef west of K. Rasfari in the early hours of last Thursday morning, Navios Amaryllis, will only be given allowed to leave the Maldives after an agreement is come to on the payment of damages – subsequent the completion of a damage assessment of the reef.
Speaking at a press conference held yesterday, Deputy Minister at Transport Ministry Hamad Abdul Ghanee stated that the ship has gone aground at the protected reef near Rasfari consequent to being cast adrift in the open water after one of its engines was shut off. He also alleged negligence by the ship’s captain – played a part.
Therefore, Hamad noted that the vessel will be granted permission to leave the Maldives after a complete damage assessment.
“At present, the vessel has been detained. It will be granted permission to leave the country after the completion of a damage assessment to the reef,” he had said.
‘MUST MAKE A DEPOSIT OF MVR 100 MILLION IF LEAVING PRIOR’
Speaking to Sun today, EPA’s Director General Ibrahim Naeem noted that if the owners of the vessel wish for it to depart from Maldives prior to the damage assessment – the owners must make a deposit of MVR 100 million for this to be allowed.
“If the boat wishes to leave before we have set a fine amount – a deposit of MVR 100 million has to be made before we allow this in addition to also give an undertaking as to damages,” he had said.
Naeem also noted that the total amount that would need to be paid as damages can only be set after the completion of their survey of the reef in order to assess the damages – which is presently underway.
“The monies payable as damages can only be identified after the completion of our survey. The survey is presently being conducted. The decision to not allow the boat to depart without making the deposit was taken after the discussions with everyone in the investigation committee,” he had said.
Naeem also added that MVR 100 million is the highest amount that can be charged as a fine for damages to the environment under the law.
Navios Amaryllis was traveling from India’s Tuticorin port to South Africa’s southern port through an innocent passage without any cargo on, at the time it ran aground.