EPA unable to assess damage to Vilimale’ reef due to Afcon’s failure to clean debris

Wrecked bridge platform on Vilimale' reef. (Photo/Abdulla Jawad)

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on Sunday, has revealed that they have yet been unable to assess the damage caused by bridge platform which ran aground at Vilimale’ reef on August 16, that was refloated almost two weeks afterward.

In an earlier statement, EPA said it would conduct an assessment of possible damages to the reef once salvage efforts were complete.

The platform ran aground on the Vilimale’ reef on the afternoon of August 16. It was refloated nearly two weeks after, on the afternoon August 27.

Responding to question posed by Sun regarding whether EPA has commenced their assessment of damage to the reef – the authority’s Director General Ibrahim Naeem had replied no.

He detailed that commencement of the assessment as been delayed due the failure of India’s Afcons Infrastructure, contracted the Thilamale’ bridge project by the government, has failed to carry out their duties.

In this regard, Naeem said that there was debris from the platform which needs cleaning before the assessment can commence.  

“Weather is very bad as well. However, the real reason why the assessment has been stalled is because Afcon’s has not cleaned the debris. The area has things such as the platform’s metal and lights,” he had said.

Naeem alleged that Afcons have failed to clean the debris to date despite stating that the work would be done at the earliest.

EPA has previously enforced hefty fines over damage to reefs in carrying out such construction projects. They stressed that fine will be imposed following assessment, if necessary, in this case as well.