JOHOR BAHRU (July 28): The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has foiled an attempt by a tanker to carry out oil transfer activities without permission at 6.7 nautical miles northeast of Tanjung Balau, near Kota Tinggi, yesterday.
Johor MMEA director First Admiral Nurul Hizam Zakaria said his team obtained information through a complaint from the crew of an MMEA-detained ship that had been forced to accept the presence of an unidentified tanker which tried to approach it for suspicious activities.
Following that, the Tanjung Sedili Maritime Zone contacted the detained ship, and a ship and an MMEA patrol boat were deployed to the area to locate the tanker involved at about 3.45am.
“The inspection showed that the tanker registered in Belize, Central America was suspected of carrying out ‘ship-to-ship’ (STS) oil transfer activities with a vessel under the custody of the state MMEA which is in the process of awaiting trial.
“The tanker’s captain was also found to have not obtained any permission to anchor and carry out STS activities. Therefore, the captains and chief engineers of both vessels were taken to the Tanjung Sedili Maritime Zone office for further investigation,” he said in a statement today.
Nurul Hizam said the tanker’s 10 Indonesian crew members, aged between 24 and 60, who had valid identity documents, were also detained.
According to him, the case is being investigated under Section 491B(1)(l) and Section 491B (1)(K) of the Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952 for carrying out STS activities without permission, which provides for a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or imprisonment not exceeding two years or both on conviction. – Bernama