The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) has warned seafarers of bad weather and has called on them to take safety precautions when travelling by sea, and avoid such travel at all where possible.
In a statement, the MNDF warned seafarers to avoid travelling by sea on advice from the National Meteorological Department that the winds would reach up to 35-45 miles per hour.
Speaking to Minivan News, MNDF Spokesperson Abdulla Ali said that two days ago very regrettable incidents occurred relating to sea travel in different parts of the Maldives due to bad weather, prompting the warning.
Sixteen cases of incidents that occurred on sea due to bad weather were reported to police over the weekend.
These included the capsising of a speedboat with six passengers near Feydhufinolhu island in Kaafu Atoll. The passengers swam to Feydhufinolhu.
Another boat travelling with six passengers ran aground the same day and the passengers were initially not found by rescuers. They were later located near the Palm Beach Resort after police, MNDF and a boat from Naifaru in Lhaviyani Atoll conducted a search for them.
Police also said that some people who went to uninhabited islands for picnics had become stranded because of the rough seas.
Weather forecasts of the National Meteorological Department for today and tomorrow show that the Maldives will be experiencing widespread rain with isolated heavy showers and thunderstorms.
According to the forecast, winds will be light and variable becoming south/south westerly 3-11 knots in the southern atolls, with south-west/westerly 4-13 knots elsewhere.
The Meteorological Department forecasts that winds may gust 21-25 knot during showers and visibility will be 9 kilometres, reducing to 1-4 km during squally showers.
The state of the sea is slight to moderate in southern atolls and moderate becoming rough during showers for the rest of the country, and waves will be 3-6 feet in the open sea, according to the Meteorological Department.
Meteorological Department’s Spokesperson Ali Shareef was on leave and not available for comment.