Indian vessel 'Holy Spirit' released After 4.2 Million fine waived by government

18 May 2024 | 21:53
Maldivian Coast Guard on operation for suspected fishing vessel (Photo/MNDF)

In a significant resolution, the Indian fishing vessel 'Holy Spirit' has been released after the Maldivian government waived the substantial fine imposed on it.

The 'Holy Spirit', seized by the Maldives National Defense Force on October 23 with 12 fishermen onboard, was accused of entering Maldivian maritime territory.

Following an investigation, the Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources, and Agriculture of Maldives issued a notice on October 28 to the vessel's master and on October 29 to the owner, Antony Jayabalan.

The hefty penalty of 4.2 million Maldivian Rufiyaa was levied for infractions such as trespassing into the Maldivian exclusive economic zone, using prohibited fishing methods, fishing without a license, and capturing banned fish species.

Despite the owner's appeals, the Ministry initially refused to reduce or waive the fine, issuing an amended notice on November 13 that upheld the penalty.

However, in a turn of events, the fisheries ministry retracted their claim from the Civil Court.

Last Thursday, following the ministry's retraction and the President's intervention, the Civil Court waived the penalty, ruling in favor of the 'Holy Spirit'.

The vessel subsequently departed Maldives on March 17.