Civil Court orders seizure of Sri Lankan fishing vessel, Imposes MVR 700,000 fine for illegal operation

16 Apr 2024 | 23:38
Sri Lankan fishing vessel, 'Sudhisa Putha 2' (Photo/Fisheries Ministry)

The Civil Court has rendered a significant decision, asserting that the proprietor of a Sri Lankan fishing vessel apprehended for illicit activities within the Maldives Exclusive Economic Zone must remit a substantial fine of MVR 700,000.

In addition to this penalty, the court has mandated the confiscation of the vessel, 'Sudhisa Putha 2', along with all its accompanying gear and apparatus.

This pivotal verdict was issued subsequent to a legal dispute instigated by the state, which aimed to secure confirmation regarding the liability of Panambarage Sumudu Sampath Fernando, the vessel's owner, for the fine specified in the penalty notice dispatched by the Fisheries Ministry on December 13, 2023.

Following Fernando's failure to settle the stipulated fine, the state proceeded with legal action against him.

The court's ruling now requires him to remit the designated MVR 700,000 fine to the Fisheries Ministry within a period of 14 days commencing from Monday, the day the verdict was delivered.

Moreover, in alignment with the state's entreaty, the court has granted approval for the seizure of the vessel and all its associated contents, effectively transferring custody and control to the Fisheries Ministry.