The Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) has urged seafarers to avoid nighttime voyages as severe weather continues to batter much of the country. This advisory follows an alert from the Maldives Meteorological Service (Met Office), which forecasts a spell of harsh weather conditions commencing from 16 May and extending over the next five days.

The Met Office said that the onset of the rainy season is expected usher in heavy rainfall across most of the country, beginning Thursday and likely to persist for the next five days. The advisory warns of strong winds and rough seas across all regions of the country, accompanied by substantial rainfall.

Wind gusts are projected to exceed 15 to 25 miles per hour, escalating to 45 to 50 miles per hour during showers. The Met Office also warns that certain islands may experience tidal surges during high tide.

In an advisory issued on Friday, the MNDF cautioned seafarers to be wary of rough seas due to the prevailing severe weather conditions, urging them to postpone journeys at night if conditions are unfavourable.

Meanwhile, the MNDF in continuing a search operation for a cargo boat named ‘AAA-37’, which was reported missing with a four-person crew. The vessel was last seen departing Thilafushi Island in Kaafu Atoll around 6 a.m. on Friday, en route to Medhufushi Island Resort in Meemu Atoll. The MNDF was alerted about the missing vessel around 5:20 p.m. on Friday.

The MNDF Coastguard Ship Shaheed Ali is currently searching the area to locate the vessel and its crew. On Saturday, the MNDF announced the deployment of an aircraft from the national carrier, Maldivian, to aid in the search efforts.

The MNDF strongly advises seafarers to avoid embarking on voyages unless absolutely necessary and to exercise extreme caution given the severe weather conditions. Inclement weather associated with the rainy season is expected to prevail across the country until Monday.