Licenses of sea vessels to be nulled if life jackets aren't placed on board in 3 months

A speedboat makes its way through rough seas. (Sun Photo/Ahmed Aiman Ali)

Transport Authority has announced that the licenses of sea vessels that fail to keep life jackets on board with the next three months – will be nulled.

In an announcement made yesterday – the Authority had instructed a number of requirements that sea vessels must follow in addition to having life jackets on board – all of which must be fulfilled within a three-month period.

The grace period given by the Authority to fulfill these requirements will conclude on next year’s January 16. This announcement comes after the Maldives saw an increase in marine incidents during the past few days due to heavy rain, strong winds and rough seas – some of which have resulted in fatalities.

In this regard, last Saturday, passengers were thrown overboard from a speedboat traveling from Male’ City to V. Fulidhoo which resulted in the death of a 33-year-old woman. Her four-year-old son remains missing at sea.

On Monday, a youth on a boat from Male’ City to B. Atoll fell overboard at Kaashidhoo Sea. However, the man swam ashore to K. Kaashidhoo, and was unharmed in the incident, despite falling overboard six nautical miles away from the island.

Following these incidents amongst others – Transport Authority is mandating to keep life jackets as well as lifebuoys on board.

In addition to this, the three certificates required for sea vessels have been instructed to be made. They are oil pollution and prevention certificate, certificate to carry highly flammable and other dangerous goods and sewage certificate.

Furthermore, the document issued by Transport Authority when a vessel is put into water for the first time after being constructed must also be taken.

It is also mandatory for captains, crew, and marine mechanics to have a license and qualifications acceptable to the Transport Authority.

The vessels must also be equipped with buoyant apparatus and a tracking device. The manifest of vessels must be known and medical documents and employment agreements of the captain and the crew must be submitted to Transport Authority.

Enforcing these requirements were also discussed two years ago – when the capsize of a speedboat traveling from HDh. Nolhivaranfaru had resulted in five fatalities. However, the talks had halted after a while – and had only resumed following the recent tragic incidents.