Eleanor Johnstone –
The Thai fishing vessel Emerald Reefer has been removed from its beached location along the Muli Kolhu Faru reef near the Shangri-La Villingili Island Resort, where it ran aground in late November 2011.
After supporting the vessel for nearly two months, the reef area “looks destroyed” and is unlikely to recover in the near future, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said.
The Emerald Reefer came to the Maldives in November to purchase locally-caught fish in Addu Atoll, which has only a few narrow channels permitting entry.
The reefer is one of only a few large vessels to run aground in the Maldives.
As per Maldivian law, the boat’s owner was allotted 25 days to remove the boat before incurring a fine of RF700,000 (US$45,000) per day that the boat remained grounded.
Transport Minister Adil Saleem previously told Minivan News that the owner had unsuccessfully attempted to remove the vessel, and had left the matter in the hands of an agent in the Maldives.
The Transport Ministry began issuing the fine on December 14, 2011.
At that time the Ministry was considering options for removal aimed at protecting the reef, which it believed had been damaged on impact and was incurring further damage as tides rocked the ship along the reef.