Maldives government on Wednesday strongly refuted the claim that the tanker bearing a Maldivian flag that was spotted alongside a North Korean-flagged tanker, is of Maldivian origin and said that no such vessel is registered in the country.
The government had warned of “aggressive action” against the individuals who had illegally hoisted the Maldivian flag on its vessel.
The President’s Office, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had issued harsh statements, after the incident came to light Wednesday morning.
The President’s Office condemned, “in the strongest possible terms,” the use of Maldives’ flag “in a manner so as to tarnish the good standing and reputation of our nation and that of our people.”
Meanwhile, the foreign ministry also emphasized the seriousness of the issue and stated that it is currently investigating the matter as the Transport Authority of Maldives had confirmed that the Maldivian-flagged vessel ‘Xin Yuan 18’ is not registered with the Authority.
“Further, the Maldivian authorities do not allow flag of convenience to foreign owned vessel to operate outside Maldivian waters, and therefore, the use of the Maldivian flag on Xin Yuan 18 is clearly a violation of the Maldivian laws and regulations,” the statement from the foreign ministry read.
The Japanese foreign ministry noted that the UN Security Council Committee was informed of the incident, and that the information had been shared with related countries, including countries with strong ties with Maldives.
The Maldivian government responded to this, and affirmed that it gave high priority to the implementation of all resolutions of all the resolutions of the UN Security Council, including the Resolutions on North Korea.
“The Administration is currently investigating the matter and wishes to make clear that the Maldives will pursue aggressive action against any such acts which affects the National Identity in such a detrimental manner,” the statement from the President’s Office said.
The Japan foreign ministry had issued a statement claiming that two vessels were spotted by an aircraft of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force at around midnight on February, 24, some 250km eastern shore of Shanghai, and that the two vessels “could have been engaging in some type of activity.”