Armed foreign soldiers exit fishing vessel after two hours

Fishing vessel 'Asuruma-3'. (Photo/Bodu Kanneli Masveringe Union)

Bodu Kanneli Masveringe Union (BKMU), on Wednesday night, reported that the armed foreign soldiers who stormed several local fishing vessels have left them after two hours.

An official from BKMU said the incident came to their attention after one of the fishing vessels informed them.

“They had reported the incident to the Coastguard at the moment as well,” the official said.

As per the union, the armed soldiers had stormed three fishing vessels while fishing in Maldivian territories. They identified the three vessels as ‘Asuruma-3’, ‘Neru-7’ and ‘Maahoara-3’.

Citing the captain, BKMU said four soldiers initially came aboard ‘Asuruma 3’ who were later joined by two additional soldiers.

The union said the soldiers had attempted to obtain the number of the satellite phone used aboard the vessel, adding that the captain, at that time, had acted under the instruction of the Coastguard while on the phone with them.

“They have no authority, to disclose the number to them. Therewith, the number was not shared within them,” a BKMU official said.

The official said the fishing vessels have returned to fishing after the soldiers exited the vessels. Underscoring there was no danger at present, the BKMU official said no one was injured in the incident.

MNDF, in an earlier statement, said they were informed that the fishing boat was inside the Maldives Exclusive Economic Zone (EEEZ) when a boarding team from a foreign military ship stormed the boat.

Before the MNDF issued its statement, the Bodu Kanneli Masveringe Union (BKMU) reported that an Indian navy ship had stopped and stormed ‘Asuruma-3’ – a fishing boat from ADh. Mahibadhoo.

Fisheries Minister Ahmed Shiyam has expressed concern over the matter. He detailed that the soldiers stormed Asuruma-3 while it was fishing 72 miles off HA. Thuraakanu.