MNDF intercepts local boat involved in drug trafficking

Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) has revealed that a Maldivian vessel which attempted to collect drugs from a detained foreign vessel has been detained.

MNDF confirmed that a foreign vessel was intercepted on October 5 in a joint operation with Maldives Police Service and the Coast Guard. While Indian medias earlier reported that over 150 kg of drugs were on the boat, Maldivian authorities did not comment on the amount of seized drugs.

MNDF said the boat was detained 172 miles off Ha. Thuraakunu while in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Maldives four days after Indian authorities alerted MNDF. When tipped off regarding a local vessel involved in the case, fishing vessel 'Hedheykuri-7' was also intercepted and detained, said MNDF.

MNDF said while no documents have been found which can confirm the nationality of the country to which the ship has been registered at, the boat had a large amount of suspected narcotics aboard the vessel. The flag state of the vessel is Iran. Six crewman were aboard the foreign vessel at the time of interception, ad two Maldivians and two foreigners were aboard the local vessel.

India's 'The Hindustan Times' cited an official and stated Indian security agencies detected the boat on September 30 about 500 nautical miles off Kerela. This is the fifth such haul of drugs shipped from Pakistan through the sea that has been recovered over the last three months, said the report. While the boat was receiving instruction from Pakistan, its destination was not immediately clear, it further said.