Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) says its search for missing Shima Nafiz from L. Maamendhoo and apprehending four foreign fishing boats illegally operating on Maldivian waters have been the biggest operation carried out this year.
Despite the search for Shima being the biggest operation carried out by MNDF this year, she has unfortunately not yet been found.
Aminath Shima (19) was lost at sea on February 22, after her dinghy capsized. She was travelling in a small dinghy from L. Kahdhoo to Maamendhoo with her fried Ibrahim Fazeel (24) when the incident occurred. While Shima was lost at sea, Fazeel reportedly survived the incident by swimming to nearby Six Senses Resort.
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Coast Guard Commander Brigadier General Ali Zuhair said they employ the use of all vessels and facilities at their disposal in such cases. If there is a lack of resources they also use the support and aid of any other available sources to complete operations. As such, they sought the help of the Indian Navy to apprehend the four foreign fishing boats operating illegally in Maldivian waters, he said.
Coast Guard’s principle director Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Saleem said the Coast Guard’s primary role is salvaging the goods of travelers that encounter unfortunate incidents at sea. So far this year, 90 such operations have been carried out, most of which had been due to engine malfunction, he said.
Other incidents include vessels running aground on reefs, vessels going missing, and vessels experiencing accidents at sea, he said.
Saleem further said that since many international goods cross the Maldivian waters, it is of utmost importance to monitor and maintain safety while travelling at sea. Thus, the Maldivian Coastguard along with the navy of neighboring countries has been closely monitoring marine activities in the region, he said.
Special training programs have also been carried out in collaboration with neighboring countries to further develop the quality of service, Saleem said.