Due to the increasing number of shipping accidents in the Maldives, the government has announced stricter safety regulations for boats and ships, warning that those captains and crews who repeatedly violate regulations would have their licences withdrawn.
Making this announcement last December, Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed announced that accidents at sea would now be subjected to a thorough investigation. Should the crew be found to be negligent, they would face harsh penalties.
“We will do it for the safety of passengers, which would be done within the laws and regulations,” he said.
The Minister added that dozens of ships had been asked to improve their safety and communications equipment. Checks on the ship's seaworthiness would be conducted annually, with licences being issued after specific training was completed.
The legislation has also been updated to prohibit passenger ships from carrying flammable substances like gas and petrol.
The Minister reiterated that marine safety was of utmost importance due to the country's strong reliance on sea travel.
These announcements had come two days after an accident that occurred between a speedboat and a dive boat off the island of Maafushi in Kaafu. Two tourists on the dive boat, a 16-year-old Malaysian woman and a 42-year-old Chinese, were killed.
A police report stated that there were six people on the dive boat, while the speedboat was carrying four people at the time.
In recent months, a spate of marine accidents had led to public criticism about the lack of regulations for marine vessels; and this latest incident has prompted firm action by the government on the matter.