Male, March 1 (newsin.asia): The Maldivian government on Thursday categorically denied the opposition’s charge that the North Korea sanctions breaking vessel Xin Huan 18 carries a Maldivian registration number and the Maldivian firm involved is linked to President Abdulla Yameen’s family.
“The Government of Maldives assures that the Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number 455910000 associated with the vessel named Xin Yuan 18 was never registered in the country. The MMSI is an internationally recognized 9-digit identification number which is used to identify maritime communication and vessels.”
“While the MMSI range for the Maldives is 455XXXXXX, there is no record of the MMSI number 455910000 ever being registered in the Maldives,” the government said in a statement.
“The Communications Authority of Maldives (CAM) administers the registration of all communication equipment on maritime vessels, as well as the issuance of all call signs and numbers. CAM only issues MMSI numbers to vessels registered by the Maldives Transport Authority.”
“The Government of Maldives also confirms that the vessel ‘Xin Yuan 18’ is not registered in the Maldives,” the government’s statement said.
Earlier, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) led by Mohamed Nasheed issued a statement that oil tanker Xin Yuan 18 was recently spotted by the Japanese Air Force in suspected North Korean sanctions busting activities, “appears to be linked to linked to Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen’s family.”
The MDP went on to say that “despite denials by the Maldivian Government, independent shipping registers show that the oil tanker ‘Xin Yuan 18’ is registered in the Maldives, with the Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) 455123170. The vessel also carries the Maldivian flag.”
“Documents viewed by the opposition show that the Xin Yuan 18 is owned by Ha Fa Trade International, a company based in Hong Kong.”
“A Maldivian company called Green Box, which is owned by Colonel Ziyad, applied for a mortgage at the Bank of Maldives worth US $4.5 million. The Xin Yuan 18, along with property belonging to Adheel Jaleel, was used as collateral for the mortgage,” the NDP statement said.
“Adheel Jaleel is President Yameen’s nephew. Green Box’s owner, Colonel Ziyad, is a former Colonel in the MNDF, and a close confidant of General Shiyam, the Chief of the Defense Forces.”
“The Bank of Maldives’ board reportedly approved the mortgage. Adheel later withdrew his property as collateral from the mortgage, so the Bank of Maldives did not disperse the funds.”
“The exact nature of the relationship between Ha Fa Trade International and Green Box remains unclear. “
“According to Green Box’s website, one of the company’s main focuses is the “importing, bunkering, resale and re-exporting of fuel and related products.”
“Green Box’s company address is: 1 Floor, H Gadhamoo Building, Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Male’.
“The Maldivian Democratic Party is extremely concerned that President Yameen has been caught up, once again, in an illegal scheme to smuggle oil in violation of UN sanctions. In the early 2000s, President Yameen was head of an international smuggling ring that provided oil to the Burmese military junta, in breach of UN sanctions.”
“Grant Thornton, an international investigative firm, was hired by President Nasheed’s administration to investigate the oil smuggling to Burma,” the MDP release called.
“A case against Yameen for fraud was lodged in a court in Singapore. However, days before the case was due to be heard in 2012, President Nasheed was deposed in a coup d’etat. The Grant Thornton investigation was terminated by the administration that replaced President Nasheed.”
(The featured image at the top shows the vessel Xin Yuan 18)