Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has fined a tug boat and barge of India's MM Export for damages sustained to Haa Alifu atoll Dhidhdhoo lagoon.
The agency fined the proprietor of the vessels with a fine of MVR 100 million.
MM Export's tug "Mutha Princess" and barge carrying rock boulders capsized on Dhidhdhoo lagoon on May 1, 2023.
While MM Export righted the barge easily, it took four days for the company to right the tug boat with the help of another tug dispatched from Malé.
EPA conducted an environmental impact assessment following the incident, and discovered severe damages to an area of 4,038 square meters of the lagoon.
Under the Penalty and Liability Regulation of the EPA, the company received a fine of MVR 100,000,000, which stands as the highest prescribed penalty for environmental damage under the regulation.
EPA demanded the local agent of the vessels, HRS Infratech Private Limited to settle the fine within 30 days from the date of issuance.
The agency also said that the exact calculated damage to the reef amounted to MVR 101,743,400; which however cannot be levied on the company since the regulation does not enforce fines above MVR 100 million.
EPA also said that it has initiated legal proceedings, in collaboration with the Attorney General's Office, to obtain the specified sum.