The Maldives National Defence Force's only fire fighting vessel, Echo-9, has remained unoperational for over two months due to damage sustained in an accident. Echo-9 was designed specifically to respond to fires at sea, equipped with special equipment to immediately douse flames upon deployment.
A senior MNDF official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, stated that parts of the launch had been damaged and unrepaired, leaving the vessel unusable. The official further explained that the defence ministry had cited lack of funds as the reason for not repairing the vessel, which has left the Coast Guard without a dedicated fire fighting vessel.
"In case of an incident at sea, a commonly used MNDF vessel will have to respond, and since they are not dedicated to fire fighting, we will not be able to be at the earliest of fire fighting operations," said the official.
The absence of a dedicated fire fighting vessel could potentially lead to delayed response times in the event of an emergency, which could have serious consequences. The Coast Guard is responsible for ensuring the safety and security of the Maldives' waters, and the lack of a functioning fire fighting vessel may compromise their ability to carry out their duties effectively.