Crew from two FSM barges held in Eritrea brought to Maldives

One of the barges held in Eritrea on April 26, 2023.

The crew from two barges belonging to Fuel Supplies Maldives (FSM) held at Eritrea has been brought back to Maldives.

The two barges had been on their maiden voyage from Egypt – where they were built – to Maldives when they ran into bad weather, technical trouble with the steering wheel of one of the vessels, and illness among the crew – leading them to have an emergency entry to Eritrea’s port on April 26.

The barges were captured and the crew detained for illegal entry.

In an earlier comment to Sun, FSM’s Managing Director Qasam said the two barges entered Eritrea after multiple failed attempts to contact the country’s port. He detailed that the crew comprises of four Maldivians and four Egyptians.

Qasam, on Thursday, confirmed to Sun that the crew was brought back to Maldives on June 2nd.

Therewith, they have returned to Maldives after more than one month.

Qasam detailed that the company, alongside Foreign Ministry, undertook efforts two officials – one from each – alongside a lawyer to Eritrea to clear the barge and its crew. He also said that undertook efforts alongside an Eritrean law firm for the purpose.

“The biggest hurdle we faced was in communicating with the nation. Because of the lack of response,” he added.

Qasam, when asked why the barges have still been held, said only Eritrea will know the reason. He noted that efforts were still underway to bring back the barges.

The barges, both with a capacity of 250,000 liters, were procured for FSM’s internal operations.