BINTULU (Sept 5): The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) detained a tugboat, five crew members and a barge laden with sand some 1.6 nautical miles from Tanjung Kidurong around 11am yesterday.
MMEA Bintulu zone director Captain Mohd Khairol Anuar Saad said the detention was made after the tugboat skipper failed to produce any valid documents related to the tugboat and barge laden with sand.
“The crew members of the tugboat and a barge also had expired working permits,” he said in a statement today.
He added that all of the crew members, including the skipper were Indonesians aged between 31 and 56.
Mohd Khairol said the tugboat, barge and crew members were escorted to the Bintulu Maritime zone vessel detention centre for further investigation.
“The case will be investigated under the Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952 and the Customs Act 1967 which provides for a fine and imprisonment, upon conviction.
“The detained crew members will (also) be investigated under Section 15(1)(c) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 which provides for a fine of not exceeding RM10,000 or imprisonment for a term of not exceeding five years or both, upon conviction.”
Mohd Khairol reminded the maritime community to comply with the laws before doing any activity at sea.
He also welcomed feedback and complaints from the public to report any suspicious activity or accident at sea directly to the MERS 999 line or Bintulu Maritime Operations Centre (086-314 254) or Sarawak State Maritime Operations Centre (082-432544) which operates 24 hours.