A Maldivian citizen was arrested late Tuesday night in relation to the tanker found bearing a Maldivian flag, alongside a North-Korean tanker.
Mihaaru is aware of the identity of the individual who was arrested; however, it is unable to publish the name due to defamation laws. The individual is a prominent businessman, known for being involved in the oil business. He was arrested from Male.
Japan’s foreign ministry claimed that the tanker bearing the Maldivian flag, 'Xin Yuan 18' made contact with the North Korea’s vessel. According to its foreign ministry website, the vessel was registered in Maldives.
The statement released by Japan’s foreign ministry also said that the vessels were spotted by a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force around midnight on February 24. The two vessels were seemingly engaged in some type of activity, according to the statement.
The Japanese foreign ministry had even informed the UN Security Council Committee of the incident, and the information was passed to all the related countries.
The Maldivian government, however, maintained that the vessel did not belong to the Maldives. The President's Office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued harsh statements regarding the incident and warned of "aggressive action" against the perpetrators responsible for misusing the Maldives' flag.
While an internal investigation has commenced, Mihaaru has come to know that the Maldivian National Defense Force and Maldives Police will aid this investigation.