Fisheries ministry denies granting permission for Sri Lankan vessels to cross Maldivian waters

The fisheries ministry has denied rumours that the government has granted permission for Sri Lankan vessels to cross Maldivian territorial waters without prior authorisation.

In a press statement yesterday, the ministry assured that the government would not grant any request that could “have an adverse effect on Maldivian fishermen or the fisheries industry, the country’s independence and sovereignty, or the economy.”

Sri Lanka reportedly made the request at the sixth meeting of the Maldives-Sri Lanka Joint Commission on Tuesday (September 9). A delegation including Foreign Minister Dunya Maumoon, Fisheries and Agriculture Minister Dr Mohamed Shiny, Education Minister Dr Aishath Shiham, as well as senior officials from various government ministries departed to Colombo earlier this week to attend the meeting.

During an official state visit in January, President Abdulla Yameen agreed to “explore the possibility” of giving innocent passage to Sri Lankan fishing vessels through Maldivian waters under the UN Law of the Sea.