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Crew of sinking cargo boat rescued at sea

The coastguard rescued four crew members Friday afternoon from a cargo boat that sank en route from Malé to the southern island of Feeali in Faafu atoll.



The coastguard rescued four crew members Friday afternoon from a cargo boat that sank en route from Malé to the southern island of Feeali in Faafu atoll.

According to the Maldives National Defence Force, the coastguard’s Shaheed Ali ship was dispatched when the 90-foot ‘Great Cargo’ boat began taking on water around 3:15pm.

The four crew members – one Maldivian and three Bangladeshis – were rescued unharmed before the boat sank about 11 nautical miles northwest of Feeali.

The boat sank with three 40-foot cargo containers. The MNDF has urged seafarers to be wary of floating plywood, timber, and other items in the area.

The Maldives has been experiencing a bout of bad weather with high winds and choppy seas in recent days.

The Maldives Meteorological Services issued a white alert on Friday for the region between Shaviyani atoll in the north to Laamu atoll in the south, warning of heavy rain and thunderstorms with average strong winds of 23 to 29 miles per hour and gusts of 45 miles per hour.

The meteorology department predicts heavy rain and thunderstorms across the country today. Seas are expected to be moderate in the north and rougher in the south.

In September last year, a private ferry carrying some 81 people sank in Malé atoll. There were no casualties. In the same month, the coastguard rescued more than 300 passengers aboard two ferries caught in bad weather.

The MNDF’s fire and rescue service were meanwhile deployed to operate drainage pumps in Malé yesterday after heavy rains caused flooding near the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital.

Flooding water pump

Flooding in Malé continues to be a concern during the rainy season. In August, tidal swells caused severe flooding on the northeast side of the capital city. The area was inundated with more than two feet of water.

Tidal swells also caused minor flooding in five islands across the Maldives in late September. The flooding was caused by the perigean spring tide, which occurs when the full moon coincides with the perigee of the moon – the point when the moon is closest to the earth.

In November, Addu City suffered the worst storm damage in 40 years after 12 continuous hours of torrential rain left streets inundated and flooded some 200 households in the southernmost atoll.