Saturday, October 19

SFVA calls for end to foreign vessel encroachments

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One of the alleged foreign fishing boats spotted some seven nautical miles off Suai waters.

MIRI: Sarawak Fishing Vessels Association (SFVA) yesterday called for the government’s intervention in stopping the mushrooming of illegal fishing activities involving foreign boats and crews off Miri waters.

SFVA vice president Ling Kah Wei in an interview here yesterday claimed that he and a few other fishermen had encountered more than 20 foreign boats fishing as close as seven nautical miles off Suai, near Sibuti here.

Ling (standing) points to a spot on the map where he spotted the illegal foreign fishermen recently, as his father Seng Chuong looks on.

“We have recorded some of the events when we spotted their boats very close to the shoreline in Suai. The first was spotted in May this year and a few times between June 20 and most recently June 29,” he said.

Ling believes that the foreign boats are from Vietnam, saying they have been terrorising local fishermen and causing losses to them.

He also claimed that he and a few other fishermen were once provoked by the Vietnamese crew when they wanted to take photos of their boats as evidence of their encroachment.

“They came out and showed a knife at us to provoke, and also as a warning to us not to take their picture,” said Ling.

He added he has lodged police reports on the alleged criminal intimidation by the illegal fishermen.

When asked whether SFVA had lodged complaints on the illegal foreign fishing boats, Ling said he had lodged several to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) but the problem had yet to be resolved.

“We have reported to MMEA several times and surprisingly when they went to check, these boats disappear,” he claimed.

Ling added that he had also lodged a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate the matter.