A boat ran aground at the reef of Baa atoll Hanifaru Bay on Monday, causing great damage to the reef protected as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, reported the Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve Office on Thursday.
According to an official of the Biosphere Reserve Office, the boat carrying cargo from Dharavandhoo island in the atoll ran aground the southern region of the reef while enroute to capital Male, and still has not been floated.
“There was quite a lot of damage caused to the reef when we checked after the boat ran aground. We can assess the full damages only after the boat is floated. There is a tug currently deployed in the area to float the boat,” said the official.
The official added that the captain of the vessel will be fined accordingly after a full assessment of the damages sustained by the reef.
Hanifaru Bay is the most critical region of the core area protected as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Baa atoll, as it is often home to a variety of rays and whale sharks. It is also one of the top tourist attractions in the Maldives, with statistics indicating that Hanifaru Bay earns a hefty revenue from divers.