A Sri Lankan fishing boat found adrift off the northernmost island of Thuraakunu in Haa Alif atoll is missing four fishermen, announced the Sri Lankan government on Monday.
The small drifting boat was discovered by a local Maldivian vessel 30 miles off the coast of Thuraakunu with only two fishermen aboard. The duo, reported to be in good health, was taken under the care of Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) on Dhidhdhoo island in the same atoll.
However, Sri Lanka’s Deputy Minister of Sports H.M.M. Harees told Lankan media on Monday that there had been six fishermen on board the fishing boat, four of whom are currently missing. He added that Sri Lanka will seek the aid of the Maldives in finding the missing persons.
The spokesperson of MNDF stated that the Maldives government has not received a request for assistance yet. He disclosed that care of the two fishermen and their vessel has been handed over to Police.
The Police spokesperson stated that preparations are underway to return the two fishermen to Sri Lanka, though procedures are currently at a lull. Meanwhile, Lankan media report that their deputy sports minister is to arrive in the Maldives on Monday to escort the fishermen back.
According to Lankan media reports, the fishing boat had set off last December 24 from the Oluvil Harbour in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. The fishermen on board hail from Kalmunai of the same province.