Cargo ship that went aground at Rasfari pays USD 10 million fine

Panama-flagged cargo ship Navios Amaryllis wrecked on the reef to the west of K. Rasfari on August 19, 2021.

The Panama-flagged cargo ship that ran aground on the reef west of K. Rasfari, MV Navios Amaryllis, has made a payment of USD 10 million (MVR 154.2 million) to Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) as fine.

Measuring in 190-meters in length, MV Navios Amaryllis ran aground on the reef west of K. Rasfari in the early hours of August 19.

When the cargo ship was refloated, Environment Protection Agency (EPA) assessed the damages to the reef and fined the cargo ship. Being discontent with the fine amount, the ship’s owner had appealed. However, Environment Ministry had decided in favor of EPA’s judgment.

Subsequently, the ship’s owners had made a payment of USD 10 million in fines. The amount paid is inclusive of damages to the reef as well as the cost of restoring the reef to its previous state. The payment was wired to MMA’s public bank account.

This is the largest amount received as fine to the State up to date, under the Environment Act. It is also the first time such a large fund has been secured for the purpose of covering the cost of remedying damage to the environment.

Environment Ministry said that the ship’s owner has agreed to provide technical expertise to EPA in order to increase their competency in conducting environmental impact assessments.

It has been decided that the cargo ship will be given permission to leave Maldives following the payment, as agreed between the government and the ship’s owner.

MV 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. Transport Authority has stated that no substances which may harm the environment have been leaked from the vessel to the ocean following the incident.

Rasfari is an island on which telecommunication work is carried out. The island and the reef surrounding the island have been declared protected since September 27, 1995. The area is famous amongst divers and one of the most environmentally diverse areas in Kaafu Atoll; with sightings of endangered species in the Maldives such as rays, sharks and turtles.