Maldivian fishing vessel catches fire

A boat belonging to Maldivian fisheries company Mifco has caught fire while undergoing repairs at a Sri Lankan dockyard.

Adli Ismail, managing director of the Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company (Mifco), said the cause of the fire in the boat’s insulation has not yet been identified, according to Haveeru.

Colombo firefighters were able to bring the fire under control within an hour.

“There was no structural damage to the boat. However, I really think we will need to replace the insulation,” said Adli.


Oceans new – Maldives’ first female boat captain

Aishath Rizna maneuvered Kurumba Maldives’ two tiered speed boat out of the Malé harbour with an expertise surprising for a young captain who’d just gotten her license.

We were sailing against the wind, but her command of the vessel rivaled that of any seasoned captain – a post traditionally held by men. Rizna is the Maldives’ first active female boat captain.

“I feel confident on a speed boat. It’s really cool,” the 24-year-old told us 15 minutes later at Kurumba Maldives’ café lounge. She is sun-tanned, clad in a blue shirt and white shorts.

Rizna, also known as Rizu, joined Kurumba at the Children’s club three years ago, but jumped at the chance to train as a boat captain after Kurumba fleet manager Shameem offered the opportunity.

“The fleet section is traditionally an all-male section. This is very inspirational for the management team,” said a beaming Jason Kruse, Kurumba’s General Manager.

Inspirational Family

Rizu draws inspiration from her family which she says has a history of strong, self-sufficient women – proudly describing her mother’s skills for electrical work and how her grandmother still climbs trees at the age of 67.

She had grown up swimming, fishing, and driving boats as a child on northern Funadhoo Island in Shaviyani Atoll, before moving to Malé for secondary education.

“My father is a fisherman while my mother is a housewife,” said Rizu as she sipped orange juice. “When I was small I used to go fishing with my father on a small boat.”

Rizu said that her family is very proud of her becoming the country’s first active female captain, especially mentioning her father, who is very happy about his daughter’s achievements, encouraging her to move forward.

While school bored her, she always enjoyed snorkeling, diving, water sports. For her, working at Kurumba – and combining captaincy and recreation – is now a “vacation, more than work”.

Journey to captaincy

“When Rizu came, she was very quiet and shy, but you can see her confidence build throughout and now, she leads her own crew,” said Jason.

Rizu described her journey to captaincy as one of difficulty – training for a few hours every day during her free time – while recounting her very first boat lesson in which she spent over two hours practicing how to bring the boat to a perfect stop.

“The first few days were very challenging,” she explained. “It was very difficult but I always thought next time I will do better.”

Along with the practical aspects of boating – acquired from experienced captains working in the Kurumba fleet, she also had to learn the national regulations on seafaring and navigational theory.

“The crew was very helpful. They do not get angry at me even if I make mistakes, but instead they would give me a couple of lessons on how to correct my mistake,” said Rizu of the all-male crew under her captaincy.

Speaking of Rizu’s achievements, fleet manager Shameem shows great pride: “This is something I thought I’d never see.”

Opportunity for women in hospitality

Meanwhile, Rizu rejected rumours regarding female employees in the tourism industry.

“Resort managements have very good rules and regulations and local employees are not allowed to do whatever they want,” she said.

“People think that local employees would start drinking or go the wrong way, but we are not allowed to do any such thing,” said Rizu. “Instead, there are plenty of recreational activities to keep us occupied.”

Jason also highlighted the importance of increasing the female ratio of Maldivian employees in resorts, saying that there is increasing demand from female Middle Eastern clients for all female services.

“We are trying to increase our Maldivian female ration in the resorts. It’s a certain area we are making some changes in order to encourage more Maldivian girls to join the resort.”

Jason shared ideas of developing an all female crew speed boat which would be able to take such clients on excursions where they could confidently enjoy the full Maldivian experience by disrobing before a swim.

He shared Kurumba management’s ethos of breaking boundaries by getting more females into the industry, while pointing out that the resort currently employs two local women as trainee chefs and that the spa department was also headed by a woman.

Heading out from the resort back to Malé, Rizu said that becoming a boat captain is just one step towards her ultimate dream: “travelling to every island in the Maldives in my own boat”.


MNDF searches for missing Dhuvaafaru boat passenger

The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) has launched a search operation for man who went missing during a boat journey between the capital Malé and Dhuvaafaru, in Raa atoll, on Friday.

Mohamed Shaneez, 36, is reported to have last been seen between 2:45am and 3am on Saturday, with fellow passengers only noticing his absence when the boat arrived in Dhuvaafaru at 9am.

The boat made a 6am stop at Maakurathu island, with conflicting media reports as to whether the Shaneez was still on board at this point.


Fire outbreaks inside engine room of gas supply boat, injures four

Police have reported that today there was a fire outbreak inside the engine room of a boat docked at Thilafushi port to load gas, injuring four men.

According to police the incident was reported this morning at around 10am.

Police stated that one of the Maldivian men injured in the incident is in a critical condition and is currently being treated at Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital.

The police’s Serious and Organized Crime Department is investigating the case.


Teen seriously injured in boat propeller accident

An 18 year-old was serious injured trying to disentangle a fishing line from a dhoni propeller and is being transferred to Sri Lanka for further medical treatment, reports local media.

Nauf Ibrahim suffered serious injuries from the ‘Mashhooru’ boat propeller while trying to remove an ensnared fishing line. His family members told local media that he dove into the sea to disentangle the line and was hit in the head by the propeller, which resulted in a skull fracture and internal bleeding.

The accident occurred yesterday (April 23) while the dhoni was fishing near Laamu Atoll.

Ibrahim first received medical treatment Laamu Atoll regional hospital, however he was transferred to the intensive care unit of Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) in Male’ via the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) ‘Kurangi’ helicopter.

Ibrahim’s family claims he is not receiving sufficient medical treatment at IGMH and will be transferred to Sri Lanka today, courtesy of Meedhoo MP Ahmed Siyam Mohamed.

Ibrahim is from Meedhoo Island in Dhaalu Atoll.


Sri Lankan boat found drifting in Maldivian waters after engine failure

A Sri Lankan fishing boat has been found adrift near the island of Dhiffushi in Kaafu Atoll after the vessel suffered engine failure, local media reported.

Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) told local media that the four crew members found onboard the boat are in good condition after being handed over to Vilimale’ Police Station yesterday morning (February 24).

The Sri Lankan vessel was found by a Maldivian boat which took all four members aboard.


Boat sinks with Rf2 million cargo, 10 feet from jetty

A boat carrying cargo worth Rf2 million (US$155,600) from Male’ to Kulhudhuffushi in Haa Dhaal atoll sank this morning after hitting a shallow region in the lagoon.

Haveeru reported that the 99-foot vessel ‘Bahaadhur’ sank around 7:15am with 101 passengers, approximately 10 feet from the Kulhudhuffushi jetty.

The boat’s owner Mithur Mohamed Zuhair told the newspaper that he expected to save 10 percent of the cargo, which included washing machines, cement, food and electronic appliances. 70 percent was his own, Mithur told Haveeru, adding that the vessel was uninsured.

“I cannot believe that the incident occurred because of negligence. Although the sea was rough, it was not that rough at the time. The problem is the island’s channel through reef,” Mithur told Haveeru.

No injuries were reported.


Coastguard rescues boat with engine failure

The MNDF Coastguard rescued the vessel ‘Rasreethi’ after it suffered an engine failure during a crossing from Male’ to Foakaidhoo in Shaviyani Atoll.

The boat left Male’ at 4:30pm yesterday and MNDF received reports of the emergency at 9:42pm that evening.

The vessel was located near Kagi in Kaafu Atoll with 94 passengers on board, 18 experiencing seasickness due to rough seas.


Bangladeshi national died in boat accident

A Bangladeshi national working on a boat belonging to Sony Hardware in Malé died on Sunday afternoon.

The boat, named Assidha, was unloading cargo from Thilafushi at the T-Jetty.

The incident was originally reported to police as an accident between a boat and a crane, but was later discovered that the man was loosening the anchor rope on the boat and his chest hit the bow of the boat.

He was taken to IGMH but died during treatment.