'Missing captain had disagreement with expat over stolen money'

The family of missing boat captain, Mohamed Yoosuf has revealed that he had a disagreement over money with an expatriate crew member of the previous boat he worked on.

The 37 year old boat captain from Hhh. Kulhudhuffushi went missing last Monday after the cargo 'dhoni' vessel he was maneuvering grounded on the reef of K. Kagi. While the circumstances under which he went missing are questionable, he has not been found thus far even after a week of searching by MNDF coast guard.

However, a blood stained towel, a phone and a knife wrapped in a black trash bag was recovered by divers from below the reef the vessel grounded on. While two expatriate crew members were aboard the vessel at the time of his disappearance, the captain was reported as missing one day after he went missing. The circumstance under which the boat grounded to the reef of Kagi island is also questionable.

Speaking to AVAS, a family member of Mohamed said it is unknown whether the captain had any spats with any of the boat crew members. However, Mohamed had an issue with an expatriate crew member who stole money from a boat he worked on two years ago, revealed the family member. Following the theft, the man's picture was publicized on social media platform Facebook in a bid to locate the man. However, the man was not found, he said.

"To our knowledge, there is no animosity between Mohamed and any of the crew members of the current boat he is working on. However, he had some disagreements over money with an expatriate crewmember who he previously worked with. Our brother had publicized the man's photo on Facebook; he had written that the expat had stolen the food budget of the boat. However, we do not know if the said man or anyone linked to him worked on this boat," she said.

While coast guard divers recovered a phone and a blood stained towel from around the area where the boat was grounded, Mohamed's family says it is very likely that the towel found belonged to Mohamed. However, they are unsure if the phone belonged to Mohamed.

"We found out that our brother went missing through word of mouth. We then called his phone, and it was answered by a foreigner. He said brother is missing. The man said the last time he was seen was around 1 am of the 5th of January," said the family member.

MNDF has not ceased efforts to locate Mohamed. The family is hopeful that Mohamed will be found safe and sound. Mohamed, never married, has never held grudges against anyone, said the family.

A week has passed since Mohamed went missing. While the police have not shared much information on the case, when asked if the two foreigners aboard the vessel are suspects, the police said they could not divulge further information due to ongoing investigation.

Mohamed's family says there are suspicious facts surrounding Mohamed's disappearance. The owner of the vessel had informed that an additional local man was aboard the vessel, but this is unclear as authorities had informed that three people were on the vessel.

When AVAS contacted the company that operates the boat, 'TTS' for a comment, the company said they had been requested by the police not to share information on the case. Therefore, no comments can be made on the number of people on the vessel, said TTS.

'The police are actively investigating the disappearance of the captain of one of our boats. The police instructed us not to share any information on the case with anyone. We do not know what his family is saying. We cannot comment on the number of people aboard, when the boat grounded on the reef, or the number of crew who works on the boat," said a representative of TTS.

Mohamed is the only son of the family, and the eldest of three siblings. The family has appealed to the police to conduct a full investigation on Mohamed's disappearance.