MNDF plays down immediate piracy dangers despite UN fears for Indian Ocean

The Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) said it has not detected increased threats to the country’s territorial waters from piracy despite UN concerns over the growing attacks within the Indian Ocean.

MNDF Major Abdul Raheem told Minivan News that despite small vessels originating from Somalia washing up in the Maldives’ territorial waters – often with engineering problems – no reported attacks or activities linked to piracy were believed to have occurred in the country. Raheem conceded that potential pirate threats remained a “major problem” in ensuring the security of the archipelago, which depends on tourism for as much as 90 percent of its economy.

The comments were made as the UN Security Council yesterday reportedly raised fears that growing numbers of pirate vessels originating from Somalia were attacking ships within the Indian Ocean.  The council members claimed that tougher international sanctions would be required to punish suspected pirates.

Raheem said that despite the serious concerns raised over potential piracy attacks in the Maldives, the MNDF would continue with existing initiatives to try and protect its waters in collaboration with naval forces from other nations like India, Turkey and the US, who have all taken part in patrols across the country.

“Piracy is seen as a major problem in the Maldives and we are very concerned about possible attacks occurring in our waters,” he said. “However, we have not recognised piracy threats flaring up [around the Maldives]. With help from other nations, particularly India, we are continuing patrols.”

Concluding the first ever official visit of its forces to the Maldives last month, the Turkish navy told Minivan News that it was visiting the country as part of wider regional anti-piracy initiatives supported by the  NATO military alliance.

A naval spokesperson at the time said that the visit of the TCG Giresun to the Maldives was not linked to any specific threat or incident of piracy, but more a reaction to Somali pirates extending their operations from the Horn of Africa further into territories around the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

“We are trying to promote understanding to fight piracy, so one way to do this is to visit ports like Male’,” said the spokesperson at a media briefing during the ship’s visit. “The attacks of the pirates have widened into the Indian Ocean with one of the last incidents occurring approximately 250 nautical miles away from the shores of Male’, so NATO has widened the number of ports we are to visit to include Indian Ocean destinations like Mumbai and Male’.”

The MNDF confirmed that it received reports of small boats – believed to be Somali in origin – arriving into the Maldives’ territorial waters.

However,  Major Raheem said that the people discovered on board the boats were not confirmed to be pirates and were as likely to be refugees that had become lost at sea and drifted into the country. “We have observed some small boats drifting into our territorial waters often due to engineering problems,” he added.

While local security forces suggest the Maldives is not directly coming under attack from pirates, according to a report by the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency, 171 pirate attacks have been recorded this year by the UN as occurring off the coast of Somalia.

During the UN Security Council debate held yesterday, new international legislation relating to establishing international piracy courts to try suspected pirates were being discussed to try and combat concerns about attacks.

Speaking during the debate, the AFP cited India’s UN envoy, Hardeep Singh Puri, as raising concerns about the dangers posed to South Asian nations from pirate attacks. The debate included establishing special jails in the Somali autonomous regions of Puntland and Somaliland to hold convicted pirates.

Experts suggest that a growing number of Somali pirates are moving deeper into the Indian Ocean towards the Maldives as they come under increased pressure from international task-forces sent to limit piracy around the horn of Africa.

As a result of this movement, maritime security has become a notable security concern for the Maldives, even around the country’s secluded resort properties.


9 thoughts on “MNDF plays down immediate piracy dangers despite UN fears for Indian Ocean”

  1. Oh no, the Somali pirates are my valued trading partners!. I just give them a few blasts of experimental weapon E-271A in exchange for their weapons!. Trust me, when their skin starts to burn and peel right off them, they have the common sense to jump ship, most often leaving behind their weapons onboard.

    Absolutely nothing to worry about!.

  2. Major Raheem is talking through his arse.Even last week two tankers just outside of Maldives came under attack from the Pirates.
    It has also been noted that using mother ships the pirates have shifted from the African coast to the eastern side due to the Naval presence near Somalia.
    Just because no pirates have so far attacked the Maldives, it does not mean the threat is not there.
    The Maldivian Coast Guard is under funded and under manned for a long time. So long as Zakariyya Mansoor remains in charge of the Coast Guard nothing good will come out of it. All he is interested in is business and the buying of the two fast crafts from Colombo dockyard proves that MNDF does not analyze what kind of vessels they need for a specific threat. These crafts may be fast but are terrible gun platforms and useless against anyone with weapons.
    The whole MNDF needs overhauling now.

  3. To me negligence of our MPs and the freely moving illegal unskilled laborers are much, much DANGEROUS for our National Security as I read the comment made by Mr Raheem of MNDF regarding this issue

  4. IT would have been better if the UN came up with an idea to bolster Somali national institutions so that they can restrain their own from piracy by providing young people work and better lives. Bombing and killing a people who has nothing left will not do the trick.

  5. We all know that NATO, EU operating to combat or in Anti Piracy role since long enough.At the same time we know that piracy is growing faster that ever before. So what is the end state of these operation and how effective is these operation? What is missing for the success of preventing, combating piracy activity in this region? What we are experiencing is all are waiting pirates to come out side Somalia and chasing them and hampering. Is there any political will at international level, to combat the growing piracy in its breeding ground? Piracy is Daylight Robery. This all is about the world look at it! for instance, Pirates highjack vessells and take hostages. Who does what to resque those hostages! but if a group from Afghan, Pkistan doe take hostages from some where it wll be an issue of terrorism. Both are doing the same thing but difference is that the people who commit the crme. Both is considered as acts of violence/ terrorism. but the way of dealing is different. So unless some countries change their political stance on piracy, and act to combat piracy on Somali lands, this is going to be the biggest Joke on earth. Looking and shouting for pirates and bombing Pakistan Lands for just being suspected activities.

  6. absolutely right ! we will have pirates problems soon,
    Government is doing right thing to protect Maldives.

    we need help from other countries to protect our sea, as Pirates are coming here to observe the situation here. and mother boat staying somewhere far where they can be contact with small one.

    if we give blind eyes now ... they will come here with weapons and will kill many try to hijack some of the islanders. and demand for money " there we will be stuck" see the same situation happened indian navy boat. and Indian Government is failed to rescue their people.

    I am glade our foreign ministry is aware of all that and Government is doing all they can to protect our nations.

  7. we need to get all our sailors trained to sail, with ammunition and weapons.
    it will be the best defense; in the mean time MNDF supports them.

  8. Major Raheem: How can you confirm these somalis ending up in Maldivian waters are not pirates but refugees? They can drop their guns in the water before landing here and when landed ask for refuge and help ! I belive the few people who landed here could very well be the pirates who got drifted away or carried away by the ocean towards us, and since they were all dehydrated and hungry when they reached us, they might have changed the whole plan of seeking refuge from us instead of attacking us with their guns, they simply weren't strong enough to do that when they reached our shores. Maldives is not a place used to or have been having refugees or migrants from Africa. They go by boats to europe to seek such refuge status. So given with this whole story and the events occuringin the indian ocean and the horn of Africa, we must assume any somalian arriving in our shores are pirates unless proven with very strong evidences. They have been creating a havoc in the area by capturing ships, kidnapping people and even killing the hostages. Maldives cannot have a lineant attitude towards these people and should take these people very seriously. They are dangerous and men without any law on the broad ocean waters. I wouldn't have any complain with our MNDF even if you shoot them on site on the waters. Those pirates well deserve it. So far the NATO has failed to really tackle these pirates, but our MNDF can atleast think of ourselves and protect our people and our nation. Just don't be so soft hearted towards these pirates, if you see them in our waters just blow them off. Thats the only solution for this problem. Otherwise it will be too late to control them.

  9. It is a matter of time.The fact is there are such activities occuring within the MALDIVIAN territory.MNDF is not aware of it becouse Maldives Coast Guard does not have the capability to maintain a real time maritime picture.what Abudul Raheem said was to mean that threat is often assessed after attacks occure.that is what have been practised so far by the military, so he is right and we all are witness to what had happend with fisherman in the middle of Huvadhoo Channel few years ago.leadership has failled to take advantage of the situation when the UN became concerned of our National Security.


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