I was not a part of the Maldives National Shipping Limited’s elite crew (MNSL). Parliament opted to wind the company down in 2008, during the administration of ex-President Nasheed. Back then, the company didn’t own 99 ships to handle; instead, it had a name board outside the office building.
As has been reported, the Maldives was formerly the only seafaring nation in the region with such a large fleet. A star’s ascension and descent are predictable. Similar to that, the company had shown us both its strengths and its weaknesses. In the hands of unskilled and selfish scumbags, that didn’t take long. MNSL’s top management was able to make a fortune from the 99 cargo ships that were in operation at the time.
While ex-President Maumoon was in office, certain top positions were taken over by new personnel as we entered the new millennium. MNSL’s shore-based employees have amassed a considerable amount of wealth, as anybody can witness.
I’d want to point out a few instances of generalized corruption, without getting into specifics.
When we first heard about MNSL, it only had a handful of ships, according to our sources. When I first learned about ships, there were only three of them. They also had freehold and leasehold properties in Colombo, Singapore, and the Maldives.
A loss of USD 70 million was recorded when the company was liquidated.
To make major purchases or new hires, MNSL directors would transfer cash into their personal or company accounts. This was a common practice. National Airline “Maldivian” has a similar financial procedure to the management. Because of this, they were unable to control the risks. Rather, it is more likely to benefit top personnel and not the company until the investment has been recovered.
In addition, several of the technical personnel and members of the management board held residences and citizenship in foreign countries. It’s amazing that some staff were rewarded in this way.
Apparently, the final four vessels were sold out in less than a year. Maldive Enterprise, Maldive Star, Maldive Carrier, and Ummeedhu were among them.
The government enacted a bill to dissolve the business, but the Singapore office was unable to close due to debt. Why did that happen? Several companies and bunker traders provided credit services to MNSL. On top of all of that, the personnel had handled huge amounts of money in the form of altered invoices.
There were several Maldivians and foreigners engaged in the Maldives National Shipping Limited (MNSL) scandal. As of today, Maldivian Airlines was also affected by the same situation. Due to a lack of moral integrity on behalf of their management, the loss cannot be recouped. 99 ships!
MNSL was a huge scam through which many individuals directly benefitted. Although they had first paid crew wages in Indian rupees, as the company grew, they switched to US dollars. Sailors from the past recall that they were paid US$20 a month back then. While you are reading this post, there are still many MNSL-trained sailors who have successfully served in multinational companies.
The question remains, though, as to where the company is now. Also, shipping businesses in The Maldives find themselves in a similar position. Upon the company’s liquidation, MNSL declared a loss of US$70 million dollars. Our faith is restored once more when we saw the establishment of a state-owned freight forwarder named “Maldives State Shipping“.