Cargo ship grounded on protected reef refloated after 10 days

Kaafu Atoll, Maldives – Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) informs that the cargo ship Navios Amaryllis grounded on K. Rasfari reef has been refloated today.

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 a carrying capacity of 58,735 tons, crashed into the reef due to engine failure according to MNDF.

The cargo ship was refloated from the reef earlier today at 14:08 and is now anchored at the Ports Limited area. The Maldives Transport Authority states that the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the Maldives Coast Guard will start environmental damage assessment caused by the ship as per protocol.

The Transport Authority also confirms that while the cargo ship owned by a Greek company was 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.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Transport Minister, Hamad Abdul Ghanee previously stated that the ship went aground at the protected reef near Rasfari consequent to being cast adrift in the open water after one of its engines was shut off. He alleged that the incident occurred due to the negligence of the ship’s captain.

However, Director General of EPA, Ibrahim Naeem mentioned that after discussions with the investigation committee, the vessel can be granted permission to leave the Maldives sea, prior to the damage assessment, only if the owners are willing to deposit MVR 100 million. While this is the highest amount that can be charged as a fine for damages to the environment under the law of Maldives, the statement has garnered criticism from the public since the Rasfari reef is a major tourist attraction known for its natural beauty, is within an environmentally protected region.

Navios Amaryllis was on its route from India’s Tuticorin port to South Africa’s southern port through an innocent passage without any cargo on before it ran aground on the reef west of K. Rasfari in the early hours of last Thursday morning.