KUCHING: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has seized four Vietnamese fishing vessels and detained 58 crew members for illegally fishing in Malaysian waters during an operation on July 7.
According to MMEA Sarawak state director First Admiral (Maritime) Robert Teh Geok Chuan, the vessels were detained at about 126 nautical miles north-east of Tanjung Sirik, between 7.43am and 10.27am.
“Upon inspection, the skippers and crew members failed to produce identification documents and were subsequently detained,” said Teh at a press conference held at Tun Abang Salehuddin Maritime Complex (Komtas) jetty, Muara Tebas here today.
He disclosed that more than RM6 million worth of assets were seized during the operation which included the fishing vessels, 13 tonnes of marine resources and fishing equipment and 17,000 litres of diesel.
Teh said that those detained – aged between 17 and 55-years-old – will be investigated under Section 15(1)(a) of the Fisheries Act 1985.
“If proven guilty, the skipper will be fined RM1 million or face a maximum of two years imprisonment while the crew members will be fined RM100,000 each or face a maximum of two years imprisonment, with their fishing vessel compounded.”
Members of the public are urged to look out for any suspicious activities carried out in the country’s waters, especially those in Sarawak by contacting the Malaysia Maritime Operation Centre in Sarawak at 082-432544 or the 24-hour hotline Malaysia Emergency Response Services 999.