The Maldives government has granted a period of maximum one month for the Vietnamese cargo vessel, which ran aground in Fuvahmulah in August, to decide upon a compensation procedure for the damages caused to the reef which Environment Protection Agency (EPA) estimates to be MVR 633.7 million.
Transport Authority’s chairman Abdul Rasheed Naafiz on Tuesday announced that a period of 15 to 30 days has been granted to MV NGOC Son’s Maldivian agent to determine a method to pay the fine put forward by the EPA.
“This amount was determined based on EPA’s investigations at the island. We’ve granted a period for them to propose how to pay that fine. The decision is up to them,” said Naafiz.
The payment method will be finalised after discussions between the authority and the vessel’s local agent, based on the latter’s proposal.
The Maldives’ Environment Protection and Preservation Act states that the maximum fine for environmental damages is MVR 100 million. However, the state holds the authority to approve higher fines based on investigations into damages.
It had taken a month to re-float the vessel. The vessel was being tugged to Sri Lankan capital Colombo for repairs when it capsized en route late Saturday.
Transport Authority rebuffed rumours that it had authorised the cargo vessel to be scuttled. The authority added that MV NGOC Son’s captain may only depart the Maldives after the compensation proceedings have been finalised.
MV NGOC Son ran aground on the reef to the south of Fuvahmulah while carrying water and sewerage material to the island for Sri Lankan contractor Sierra. A Singaporean salvage company had been hired to re-float the vessel which was forced to dump over 5,000 tonnes of construction sand and gravel to lighten the ship.