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Maldives slaps capsized barge with MVR100m fine for reef damage

Mohamed Rehan
16 August 2022, MVT 06:10
Satellite image of Maagulhi: the barge capsized on the house reef of the island--
Mohamed Rehan
16 August 2022, MVT 06:10

A barge traveling from India to Vaavu atoll Rakeedhoo, carrying aggregate sand and gravel, has been fined with MVR100 million (USD 6.5 million).

The barge was fined after it had capsized to the house reef of Maagulhi; an uninhabited island in Vaavu atoll. The barge capsized en route to Rakeedhoo.

Dubbed AM Agam, the vessel capsized on Maagulhi on May 1. The vessel was traveling across the ocean line north of the island's reef.

A vessel dubbed AM Alfat tugged the barge when it experienced the incident.

Meanwhile, a statement from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) read that the proprietor of the vessel is fined with MVR100 million for gross damage on the environment due to the capsizing incident.

This is the highest set fine in accordance with the Environmental Damages Act of the Maldives.

The vessel's local agent Mainland Shipping Private Limited has been informed to settle the fine within 30 days from the date of announcement.

"After the barge was righted, EPA along with the owner of the vessel carried a joint-survey to assess environment impact. The survey showed damages sustained to 6,054 square-meters of the island's house reef," the EPA statement read.

Moreover, the authority claims the actual damages to the environment reach MVR152,569,800. However, EPA cannot breach the Damages Act which dictates that the highest amount any individual or entity can be fined for their conduct amounting to damage to the environment, is MVR100 million.

EPA further confirms the authority will claim damages through court proceedings with the assistance of Attorney General's Office.

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