The sea is a vast and dangerous place; but for the Maldivians, their most common mode of transportation. With more than 90% of the country consisting of water, the Maldivians have had to brave the sea since the beginning of time. However, the sea doesn’t relent to this bravery all the time; often leading to catastrophe in the open waters. To combat this, the Maldives Police Service has a special division under the banner of Marine Police, whose sole purpose is ensuring safety of life at sea.
The Marine Police’s mandate requires them to monitor the Maldivian territorial waters, investigate cases and take measures to send the cases for prosecution. It also falls onto the Marine Police to patrol the greater Male’ area and keep the seas safe for travel and attend to any incidents at sea. The Marine Police vessels currently operate in all atolls in the Maldives except GN. Fuvahmulah; allowing their teams to respond to incidents at sea faster than anyone else. Their operations are divided into four categories as follows.
Marine Operations: The unit patrols the territorial waters in the Maldives, mitigating all and any unlawful events that might take place at sea. Their operations office is on alert 24/7, attending calls to their hotline number and communicating operations all over the Maldives should there be an incident out at the sea. Once a report is made to Marine Police, the operations office informs those necessary on what measures to undertake.
Marine Investigations: The unit investigates all the sea-related cases; logging information and keeping statistics on a monthly basis. This allows the Marine Police to focus their attention on the most accident-prone areas in the coming months. The investigations unit looks into all incidents on sea attended by the Marine Police; sending cases to the Prosecutor’s Office should there be need for prosecution.
Marine Engineering: The Engineers at Marine Police service all the police vessels operating in the Maldives. These professionally trained engineers ensure the safety and operation of the 48 vessels currently under operation in Marine Police. The vessels range from touring 45 launches to touring 36, 38 and 32. A slipway built by these engineers allows the latter to dock and service the vessels on their own. The unit also focuses on training marine engineers.
Marine Divers: The divers in this unit carry out all the dives required for police investigations; collecting evidence. As most crime related evidence is often dumped at sea, it falls onto these divers to retrieve the evidence needed for the investigations. Apart from investigative diving, the divers also attend to missing person’s reports, often diving around to locate missing divers and other personnel. In case of a report, a team of 6 divers always attend the scene, the number increasing as need be. The unit has also been conducting diving courses for the public, creating opportunities for youth who seek careers in the field.
Over the years, the Marine Police have attended to and saved countless lives. From children stuck in water currents to people stranded at sea, the Marine Police have attended numerous cases. While the reports are not always accurate and the location of the incident not clear, the Marine Police respond to all calls made to them within minutes; their teams leaving for the scene in under 3 minutes.
The Marine Police teams reached the capsized Maamigili Ferry and attended to the stranded in 23 minutes; taking the people back to safety. Three years back, when a ferry and launch clashed, the Marine Police attended the scene in 3 minutes.
Wherever you might be at sea, whatever may come upon you, the Maldives Marine Police is always at the ready to attend to your calls. Simply dial 9998014; they’re just a call away!