KEMAMAN, Sept 3 -- The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) detained two foreign fishing boats with 17 Vietnamese fishermen aboard including the skipper and made seizures worth RM1.7 million on Sunday.
Terengganu MMEA director Maritime Capt Muhammad Suffi Mohd Ramli said in a statement today that the two boats were detained during ‘Op Iman’ and ‘Op Naga Barat’ conducted around the state’s waters.
“All 17 Vietnamese fishermen, including the skipper, aged between 20 and 53 years, were detained around 132 to 134 nautical miles north-east of Kuala Kemaman.
“In addition to the two boats, they also seized 2,000 kilogrammes of mixed fish, 2,000 kg of fish fertiliser, 2,000 litres of diesel and fishing equipment which are estimated to be worth RM1.7 million,” he said.
All those detained and the seizures were taken to the Kemaman Maritime Zone Jetty and will be investigated under Section 15 (1) (a) of the Fisheries Act 1985 for trespassing and fishing in Malaysian waters without a licence and authorisation from the director of Fisheries, Malaysia.
In addition, those detained will be investigated under Section 8 (a) of the Fisheries Act 1985 for operating a boat without a valid licence, and Section 6 (1) (c) of the Immigration Act for not having valid identification documents.
Muhammad Suffi said, if convicted, the skipper could be fined RM1 million or a jail term of up to two years and the crew can be fined RM100,000 each or a two-year prison term and be deprived of the rights to the vessel.
Meanwhile, MMEA through the ‘Op Naga Barat’ Series 1/2019 which began on April 26 until now has inspected 1,637 boats and made 96 arrests.