Two vessels including MNDF boat sunk near to capital

Two vessels including a coastguard boat have sunk in waters near to Male’ over the last 24 hours, while an airport ferry travelling to the capital has also run aground off Funadhoo oil jetty due to adverse weather affecting many parts of the country.

Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) Spokesperson Colonel Abdul Raheem confirmed that the coastguard has yesterday (August 23) received reports of a fishing vessel sinking around 14 nautical miles from Male’ as it tried to return to the capital during “bad weather”

He added that a small MNDF boat, later sent to assist the fishing vessel, also sank as a result of the harsh weather conditions – although both crews were later successfully evacuated by authorities.

According to Colonel Raheem, the MNDF has today located the sunken coastguard vessel, which was being returned to Male’ at the time of press.

Local media reported that the fishing vessel, identified as Rabeeu, had started sinking at about 6:00pm yesterday after a large wave flooded the craft’s engine area.

A total of 11 crew were on the boat at the time, according to Sun Online.

The MNDF confirmed that the coastguard had also provided assistance during a separate incident yesterday where an airport ferry travelling a short distance from Hulhule’ to Male’ ran aground after experiencing engine troubles.

Authorities said that high winds had led to the boat being swept into the reef area of Funadhoo. No serious casualties were reported.

Colonel Raheem said that the MNDF were not today advising against sea travel, despite these incidents, as conditions were reported to be calmer.

However, he stressed the importance for boat operators and members of the public to ensure all boats had sufficient safety equipment for passengers and crew.

Weather patterns

The Maldives Department of Meteorology (Met Office) today said that it had not taken the decision to issue any weather warnings over the last 24 hours, although it did expect continued heavy showers in parts of the country, specifically in southern atolls.

A Met Office spokesperson said that wet weather was expected to continue at least for the next two to three days across the country.

The department today however said it had not been informed of a tornado that was reported to have struck the island of Milandho in Shaviyani Atoll yesterday evening.

According to police, this adverse weather occurred at about 8:00pm yesterday.

No serious injuries were reported to authorities, although the tornado was found to have  damaged trees and school buildings on the island, as well as to motorcycles parked by the local medical centre, according to the police website.

The Met Office was forced to issue a temporary ‘yellow warning’ earlier this month, advising the public against travelling by sea where possible as rough weather again struck the islands.


Met Office issues weather warning, advises against sea travel for next 24 hours

The Maldives Department of Meteorology (Met Office) has issued a ‘yellow warning’ advising the public against travelling by sea where possible, due to concerns about adverse weather conditions expected across the country for at least the next 24 hours.

The notice, posted on the Met Office website, stated that showers and thunderstorms were expected throughout the day – with average wind speeds of between 30 to 37 miles per hour. Stronger winds are also predicted as between Lhaviyani Atoll and Thaa Atoll, according to authorities.

With the Met Office predicting wind speeds could reach up to 55 miles per hour in parts of the country over the next 24 hours, the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) has urged anyone considering sea travel to notify the coastguard before embarking on their journey.

MNDF Spokesperson Colonel Abdul Raheem today told Minivan News that authorities had not been notified of any major incidents at sea resulting from the current weather conditions. However, Colonel Raheem urged everyone travelling by boat to take precautions nonetheless.

“We would ask anyone planning on travelling to check conditions with the coast guard as the sea is rough right now,” he added.

The MNDF Coast Guard has also encouraged members of the public to contact its toll-free number by calling 191 to get more information on suitable times for their journey.

Authorities have previously requested that vessels also contact the coastguard when embarking or returning from longer distance journeys during adverse weather conditions.

Local media reported that the MNDF has asked the public to pay attention to ensure cargo ships carry lighter loads under the current conditions, while checking vessels are equipped with sufficient life jackets and drainage facilities.

Met Office spokesperson Hussein Waheed was not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.