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Bridge contractor pledges cleanup and shark fishing inquiry

The Chinese company said there was a detailed seabed cleaning plan.



The Chinese company contracted to build the landmark Sinamalé bridge in Malé has promised an inquiry into illegal shark fishing by its staff.

Photos of shark fins hung out to dry outside the living quarters of the Chinese workers went viral over the weekend.

“We are currently conducting an internal investigation into the concern posted on social media,” reads a statement issued Monday by Wang Chao, deputy project manager of the China Communication and Construction Company.

We have informed all bridge staff that shark fishing and other practices are illegal in the Maldives, and we will continue to take necessary measures to ensure that our staff are familiar with the relevant laws of the Maldives and comply with them.”

Shark fishing was banned in the Maldives in 2010.

Raalhugadu, the capital’s only surf point, was fenced off for the construction of the China-Maldives Friendship Bridge.

Since the surf point reopened in August following the completion of a US$200 million bridge, surfers have also complained about the impact of the bridge construction.

Debris left from the bridge construction is destroying the reef, Maldives Bodyboarding Association warned last month.

Chao said the company was “zero-tolerant towards any behavior that intentionally destroys the Maldivian environment” and was following “a detailed seabed cleaning plan and schedule for CMFB [China Maldives Friendship Bridge]”.

He added that “due to the driving effect of the swells, some construction wastes such as steel pipe piles and steel plates are left at the surf point outside the bridge area.

“We are also formulating corresponding plans in order to restore a clean underwater world.”

The company is presently working to demolish the trestle bridge and clean the underwater construction waste.

According to the housing ministry, CCCC Second Harbour Engineering will oversee bridge maintenance for the next two years.