Barge that denied wrecking on Fuvahmulah reef fined MVR 100mn

A barge runs aground at the Fuvahmulah coastal protection project site.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has imposed a fine of MVR 100 million on the owner of a barge, which ran aground on the reef of Fuvahmulah City, back in July.

The barge, Olympic Kandilo, had been carrying material for a mega coastal protection project in the southern city when it ran aground on the reef on July 7, near the makeshift jetty used by the project’s contractor.

Rock boulders the barge was carrying fell on the reef, resulting in damages – the extent of which was surveyed by the EPA.

In a statement on Wednesday, EPA said it found the incident resulted in extensive damages to a 4,306 square meter area of the reef.

The agency estimates the incident resulted MVR 162 million in damages. But, due to the MVR 100 million cap on fines under the Environmental Protection Act, the figure was reduced to the maximum penalty allowed under the law.

EPA instructed the barge’s owner, AFRICEAN PTE. LTD, to settle the fine payment within 30 days, starting Wednesday.

The agency said it also plans on collaborating with the Attorney General’s Office to sue to the company for damages, once the appeal process is complete.

EPA previously said that the barge’s owner had denied it wrecked on the reef, and that the vessel left the Maldives before the agency concluded its survey.