EPA slaps MVR 100M fine on barge owner for Dhidhdhoo reef damage

TB Mutha Princess wrecks on the reef off HA. Dhidhdhoo on May 2, 2023. (Photo/Reader Contribution)

In a recent development, the owner of the HRS Infratech, the company responsible for the barge that ran aground on HA. Dhihdhoo Island's reef, has been slapped with a hefty fine of MVR 100 million.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified two vessels from the company involved in the incident – a tug boat named "TB Mutha Princess" and a barge known as "Muthaa Pride."

The tug, which was laden with rocks, was successfully salvaged from the reef, just three days after the unfortunate event occurred, on May 2.

EPA officials wasted no time in assessing the environmental damage, visiting the site on May 12, and conducting a thorough investigation alongside the owner's surveyor.

Their findings were alarming, revealing that a substantial 4,038 acres of the reef had suffered severe damage during the incident.

As a result of their assessment, the EPA determined that the total amount of fines and compensation for the environmental harm amounted to a staggering MVR 101,743,400,

However, adhering to legal guidelines, the EPA decided to impose the maximum allowable fine of  MVR 100 million.

The company has been given a strict deadline of 30 days to settle this substantial penalty.

Local residents of Dhihdhoo expressed their concerns, lamenting the loss of one of the most beautiful parts of the Dhihdhoo reef due to this unfortunate incident.

This incident is predicted to have far-reaching consequences.