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Rules relaxed for boat captains to renew licenses

The government has also waived fines and abolished fees for fishing vessels.



President Abdulla Yameen has relaxed rules that required boat captains and crew to take classes and an exam for license renewal.

Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed told media outlets Friday night that the president decided to review and temporarily suspend two provisions in the regulation on safety of sea vessels.

A provision on the issuance of safety certificates that required documentation to show that a boat has been docked ashore for repairs was also suspended.

The government listened to complaints from boat owners, Saeed said, noting the lack of enough slipways and dockyards in the country.

“This is a big relief the president has provided,” he was quoted as saying.

Thousands of people have been travelling on ferries and speedboats from Malé to outer islands ahead of a nine-day Eid holiday.

On Friday morning, the fisheries minister announced that fines imposed over non-payment for engines and fishing vessels will be waived.

The “compassionate” president will offer boat owners an opportunity to settle the payments in instalments over one or two years, Fisheries Minister Dr Mohamed Shainee tweeted with a campaign hashtag.

The presidential election is on September 23.

Earlier this month, the economic development ministry abolished the annual fee for vessels smaller than nine metres and waived accrued fines.

The announcement came a day after opposition candidate Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ‘Ibu’ pledged to solve difficulties faced by boat owners due to new fees and fines.

The opposition’s pledges are self-fulfilling, Ibu joked the next day.

Last month, the government was accused of trying to unfairly influence votes by waiving traffic fines and promising to free convicts. Traffic fines worth more than MVR7.8 million (MVR,506,255) have been written off and the prisons authority began releasing inmates to house arrest earlier this month.