Chinese Research Ship Moored Close to Maldives Capital

The Xiang Yang Hong 03, a Chinese research vessel, is currently moored off the coast of Male, the capital of the Maldives, as reported today by the Marine Traffic website.

The ship was tracked near Thilafushi, an island west of Male. In a statement made in late January 2024, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated it had approval to dock after receiving a request from China to dock for replenishment purposes and to rotate personnel.

Chinese officials claimed the ship would not gather any data or conduct surveys.

The statement also said that the government welcomed civilian and military watercraft sent from friendly nations to dock at its ports to strengthen the relationship between nations.

Countries like India and the United States raised concerns about the research vessel due to the hydrological data it gathers could be used by the People’s Liberation Army. Sri Lanka has banned any research vessels from entering its economic territories for one year, including the Xian Yang Hong 03.