Gov't rejects appeal over fine imposed on grounded ship

Minister of Environment, Climate Change, and Technology Aminath Shauna has rejected the appeal over the fine imposed on the ship that ran aground near Rasfari, Kaafu Atoll, on August 19.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) imposed a fine of USD 6.5 million fine on the bulk carrier ship MV Navios Amaryllis for the damages it caused to the reef near Rasfari.

The environment ministry stated that Minister Shauna has rejected an appeal from the owner of the ship to change EPA's decision. The ministry stated Minister Shauna's decision is based on the negligence of the ship's crew, which had failed to report the grounding on time and led to unnecessary damage to the environment.

The ministry stated that the investigation into the incident has shown the ship's owner has been irresponsible in its conduct in an emergency situation and has failed to work with the relevant authorities to minimise the damage. It added that the damage to the reef will affect the country's environment and fisheries sector for years to come.

The cargo ship carrying 19 crewmen ran aground on August 19 while travelling near Rasfari after experiencing engine failure. Investigative authorities revealed the ship ran aground after its engine was shut off due to overheating and that the ship captain had not taken the necessary action to avoid damage to the reef after the grounding. The authorities also stated the ship captain had not informed the relevant authorities after the incident, and that the incident was reported by the public.

EPA stated the law only allows a maximum fine of USD 6.5 million, even though the actual damages caused to the reef are worth above USD 57 million.