‘Pirates’ aboard Somalian vessels caught in Maldivian waters: minister

A Coast Guard speedboat docked at capital Male.

A Coast Guard speedboat docked at capital Male.

Maldivian Defense minister Adam Shareef has declared that two Somalian fishing boats with crew, who are thought to be pirates, were caught in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Maldives

While speaking at the ceremony held at Kaafu atoll Girifushi island for the graduation of the 63rd basic training course for Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF), Adam said that the crews were Thailand citizens and allegedly pirates.

Adam highlighted the bravery of the Maldivian soldiers in dealing with the total 22 individuals on board the boats. He added that the Maldivian coast guard is an exemplary fleet.

The first boat was found 76.6 miles west of Raa atoll Hirilandhoo island on Thursday night. The second boat was found nine miles south west of Alif Alif atoll Maamigilli island. MNDF said that there were 12 aboard one while 10 were on the other.

The initial reports from MNDF stated that the first vessel had been travelling from Thailand to Somalia. They added that the vessel found on Friday had requested for approval from the Maldivian authorities for food and fuel. However, they had entered Maldivian waters before approval was granted.

MNDF’s official website said that the Coast Guard has taken both the vessels into their custody as they had further matters to look into regarding the case.

Both vessels and crew have been handed over to Maldivian Police, who are conducting further investigations.

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