Bulker Owner Pays $10M Fine for Grounding on Protected Reef
The owner of the Supramax bulker Navios Amaryllis has paid a fine of $10 million in compensation for grounding on a reef in the Maldives in August, according to Maldivian media.
The Amaryllis went aground on Rasfaree Reef - a well-known marine reserve and diving tourism destination - on August 19. The circumstances of the grounding are disputed: Maldivian officials accused the captain of failing to give them timely notice that the vessel's engine had shut down after a high-temp alarm, and they alleged that the master did not attept to anchor or request help until it was too late.
Tsavliris Salvage mobilized response assets from Sri Lanka and successfully refloated the vessel on August 22, working in cooperation with the Maldives National Defence Force. After the refloat, the Maldivian authorities detained the bulker while an investigation into the circumstances of the grounding got under way.
After review, the Maldives' Environmental Protection Agency determined that the grounding caused significant damage to the reef, and it imposed the maximum possible fine of 100 million Maldivian rufiyaa ($10 million).
The shipowner appealed to Maldivian Minister of Environment Aminath Shauna to reduce the fine, but she declined, according to local outlet Avas. After an extended negotiation, the owner has paid in full, according to the outlet, and the vessel has been released.
The fine is the largest environmental penalty that the government of the Maldives has ever assessed, and it is accompanied by an ongoing technical assistance agreement from the shipowner.