Two men drown in Fiyori, one boat sinks in bad weather

Two men drowned in southern Gaaf Dhaal Atoll Fiyori in bad weather and a boat with a cargo of timber has sunk in Malé atoll today.

The metreology department predicts heavy rains, strong winds up to 45 miles per hour and rough seas across the Maldives for the next 24 hours.

A yellow alert, indicating tidal swells, severe thunderstorms, and winds between 30 and 40 miles per hour, has been issued for the central and southern atolls.

Hassan Shihab, 53, and Abdulla Daood, 60, drowned in the lagoon of Fiyori Island while fishing this morning. The two men had waded 450 meters away from the shoreline.

Both were strong swimmers, but the currents were too strong, the island council said.

A man on the shore got on a speedboat and went to pick the two up when he saw Shihab and Daood going under. By the time he reached the two, Daood was already dead. He could detect a faint pulse in Shihab’s body. But doctors pronounced both men dead at the island’s health post.

A 70-foot boat carrying timber and five crew members sank in northern Malé Atoll at about 2:00pm today.

The coastguard found the two Maldivians and three expatriate workers in a dinghy and have now brought the crew to Malé.

Another boat nearly sank near Baa Atoll Goedhoo island to the north east of Malé this morning. The 65-foot boat started taking on water at 8:30am causing its engine to stall.

The coastguard towed the boat to shore at noon.

The Maldives National Defence Forces (MNDF) has warned seafarers to be cautious, and urged boats not to take on excessive weight.

Heavy rain has caused flooding in four southern islands, and damaged crops in Gaaf Dhaal Vaadhoo.

MNDF officers are pumping out flood waters in Hoadhedhoo, Madaveli and Thinadhoo islands in Gaaf Dhaal atoll and in Fuvahmulah Island.


Morning Star crew told to sell ship or be stranded “forever”: Mallinks Managing Director

The owner of a Maldivian ship detained in the Indian Port City of Kochi for the last five months has told the crew they must sell the vessel or they be stranded in India “forever”.

Crew members aboard the MV Morning Star have been left stranded in the country after the ship they were towing from the Maldives – MV Sea Angel – sank in Indian waters.

Following the sinking of the vessel, the Indian Environmental Authority launched a probe into the incident and detained the MV Morning Star, local media reported.

According to the Transport Authority, the crew have also gone without pay for the last five months and are relying on a local union in India to provide them with food.

MV Morning Star’s owner, Managing Director of Mallinks Pvt Ltd Ibrahim Rasheed, told Minivan News that the crew and captain of the MV Morning Star would not be allowed to sail out of the port until the sunken vessel is salvaged, in accordance to a ruling by the Indian Judiciary.

“There is nothing I can do now. It is up to the insurance company to salvage the sunken ship, but they are saying they will not do that. I don’t have the money to do it myself, I am not the World Bank.

“I have told the captain to sell the ship as it is the only option now. With the money they can pay the crew salary and return to the Maldives. If they don’t they will be stuck in India for 3 years or five years or forever because I cannot afford to pay their return,” Rasheed said.

Despite Rasheed’s proposal, Transport Authority Chairman Abdul Rasheed Nafiz claimed that to “simply sell the ship” was not an easy procedure as there are regulations that have to be adhered to with Indian and Maldivian maritime authorities.

“This is a very sad story for the crew. I have spoken to their families and they are relying on them [the crew] to provide money for children’s books, rent and bills. However, [the crew] have not received any payment,” Nafiz told Minivan News.

“[The Transport Authority] are working with our legal team to determine what type of action can be taken against the owners of the ship. These people are blaming the insurance company, then the insurance company are blaming the owners; it goes around in a circle.

Both of the vessels owned by Mallinks Pvt Ltd are insured by Allied Insurance, according to Rasheed.

Under the insurance policy, Rasheed claimed that Allied Insurance was required to salvage the sunken vessel, and that it was their failure to do so that has kept the crew unpaid in India for so long.

“We had fully insured both ships. The insurance company gave us a wage policy and in the policy they have written, ‘within 40 days we have to sail the vessels’, which we did.

“The insurance company needs to take responsibility, but they are saying no, so I will file a case at court,” Rasheed alleged.

MV Morning Star had been towing MV Sea Angel to a port in India for it to be scrapped, however just eight miles from Kochi, the 26 metre vessel began to sink.

According the ship’s captain, Hussain Ali, the crew were becoming “more and more depressed” with the situation and are yet to receive any help from the Maldivian government.

Rasheed said he had paid the crew two out of the five months they had been in India, claiming that he did not have the money to pay the full amount.

He further claimed it had been Ali’s fault that the MV Sea Angel had sunk, and that Indian courts had declared the sinking was due to Ali acting with “negligence” and “harassment of navigation”.

“At the end of all of this, this is my loss. my ship will be lost because of the captain. It was his fault the MV Sea Angel sank,” Rasheed claimed.

“The captain has already filed a case against me with the International Transport Workers Federation,” Rasheed added.


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.


Fishing vessel runs aground and sinks

A fishing vessel sank after it ran aground on Alifushi reef in Raa atoll this morning.

‘Kandu Roalhi 7’ of Alif Alif Ukulhahu left the Alifhushi harbour this morning at around 5:55am, experienced engine failure and crashed into the reef.

Another dhoni attempted to tow the vessel back to Alifhushi harbour, but during this process Kandu Roalhi 7 sank into the harbour.

MNDF northern command sent coastguard divers to the scene and together with the stricken vessel’s crew they managed to raise the vessel.

The coastguard website stated no one was hurt in this incident. This is the second incident of this nature in two days