Longline fishing boat catches fire

A longline fishing boat “Marco Polo 2” operating outside Maldivian territorial waters has caught on fire.

Media officer for Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF), Captain Ibrahim Azim said that the boat was currently located 43 nautical miles outside Maldives Search and Rescue Region.

The boat is registered to E-Fish Maldives Private Limited.

Owner of the boat reported to MNDF that there were 10 people onboard the boat - one Maldivian and nine Indonesians. MNDF has not yet been able to confirm this number.

Captain Azim reports half of the boat is submerged under water and smoke is still seen rising from the boat.

He said that another fishing boat operating in the area was now providing assistance to “Marco Polo 2”.

The nationality of the fishing boat providing assistance is unclear at this point.

Search and rescue operations for those on board the boat have been launched on air and sea – in Coastguard ships “FIC” and “Ghaazee”.