Cargo ship crash causing major damage to protected Rasfari reef: EPA

Cargo ship Navio Amaryllis grounded on Rasfari reef | Photo: MNDF

Kaafu Atoll, Maldives – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has informed that the cargo ship that wrecked into K. Rasfari reef is causing major damage as the ship remains grounded in the reef.

On August 19, cargo ship Navio Amaryllis en route to South Africa from Tuticorin, India, via innocent passage, crashed into the reef of K. Rasfari. The ship, 189.99 meters (623.23 feet) long with carrying capacity of 58,735 tons, crashed into the reef due to engine failure according to Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF).

The Director of EPA Riffath Naeem states that while efforts are being made to float the grounded ship, teams from the EPA are regularly visiting the crash site to record the damages to the reef. Naeem notes that the damage incurred is apparent even before the final assessment which would be complete after the ship is floated.

The reef retains more damage as the ship remains grounded and leans further into the reef

EPA Director Riffath Naeem

Naeem elaborates that while drone imagery already shows damaged corals, the efforts to float the cargo ship will cause more damage to the reef.

Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) along with various state institutions and the cargo ship’s owners are currently attempting to float the ship. The cargo ship owned by a Greek company is carrying 1,200 tonnes of Low sulfur fuel oil (IFO) and low sulfur marine gas oil has not leaked any harmful substances into the sea.

MNDF reports that a tug boat is arriving in Maldives to refloat the ship today.

A huge fine is expected to be levied since the reef, which is a major tourist attraction known for its natural beauty, is within an environmentally protected region.