The President’s Office, having waived a fine of MVR 4.2 million imposed on the detained fishing vessel ‘Holy Spirit,’ has released the vessel, allowing it to journey back to India.

The fine was served to Anthony Jayabalan, the operator of the Indian fishing vessel, by the Ministry of Fisheries, however, the fine was waived by the President’s Office on 10 March, with the vessel leaving the Maldives seven days later.

The vessel had been seized by the MNDF Coast Guard on 22 October 2023 and fined on 28 October 2023. Jayabalan had, at the time, asked for the fine to be waived; however, the previous administration declined to do so.

The Fisheries Ministry had even filed a lawsuit at the Civil Court seeking the fine. However, with the waiver and the vessel’s departure, the ministry requested the court to dismiss the case — the court granted the request.

Jayabalan told The New Indian Express that the Indian High Commission in the Maldives had not provided any assistance to them; however, it is unclear whether the High Commission made any specific request regarding the vessel to the current administration.