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Maldives initiate dialogue with Eritrea to retrieve FSM tugs

Mohamed Rehan
12 June 2023, MVT 17:43
One of the tugs that were held at Eritrean harbor for entering the East African country without permission; the vessel was forced to berth in the country due to stormy weather amid their voyage to the Maldives-- Photo: Fuel Supplies Maldives
Mohamed Rehan
12 June 2023, MVT 17:43

The Maldives Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that it is engaged in discussions with the Eritrean government regarding the release of two tug boats owned by Fuel Supplies Maldives (FSM) that are currently detained in a harbor in Eritrea.

The tug boats, designed and built in Egypt, were on their way to the Maldives when they were forced to berth at the Eritrean harbor due to stormy weather on April 26. However, the Eritrean authorities detained the boats, alleging that they had entered the harbor without the necessary permits.

Although the crew members of the tug boats have returned to the Maldives, Fuel Supplies Maldives (FSM) has encountered challenges in transporting the vessels back to the Maldives and added that the company's officials are unable to visit Eritrea to resolve the issue.

A media official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it had launched discussions with Eritrean government through diplomatic channels.

The two vessels that are currently detained in Eritrea were part of a larger commission by Fuel Supplies Maldives (FSM) to expand its fleet. FSM had commissioned a total of four vessels in 2019 to enhance its operations.

The vessels were developed at a cost of USD 753,000 each. They have a storage capacity of 180,000 liters of diesel and between 40,000 and 60,000 liters of petrol.