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Three local fishing boats with 24 Viet crew held
Published on: Saturday, May 19, 2018

Kudat: Three local fishing boats were detained by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) on suspicion of contravening conditions of their fishing licence, about 22 nautical miles off Pulau Balambangan, last Wednesday.

Kudat Maritime Zone Chief Lt Commander Boon Chin Chau said the boats' 24 Vietnamese crew, including skippers, aged between 26 and 60 were also detained in the operation at about 11.50am.

He said a check on the boats found that they were suspected to have committed offences under various sections such as for possessing suspicious licence and breaching the terms and conditions of the licence.

All three boats and the crew were escorted to the Kudat public jetty for further investigations under section 8(1), (2) and (b) of the Ports and Harbours Enactment 2002 as well as Section 15 (1)(a) of the Fisheries Act 1985.

Boon said the operation, which involved one officer and 15 enforcement personnel and assisted by Sistem Pengawasan Laut Sabah (Swasla Sabah), was part of the agency's continuous effort to combat maritime violations.

MMEA Sabah and Labuan Region Director First Admiral Mohd Zubil Mat Som warned that stern action will be taken against any individual or group found involved in syndicates that forged boat and fishing licence and documents.

"MMEA takes a serious view of such cases that occur in the country's waters," he said.

Meanwhile, five cases of foreign fishing boats and 10 cases of local fishing boats, both with Vietnamese crew, were recorded from 2017 until May this year.

Under Section 25 of the Fisheries Act 1985, the offence carries a fine of up to one million ringgit for the boat owner or skipper and RM100,000 each for the crew or a jail term up to two years, or both, on conviction.

The community is urged to channel any information on violations at sea to the Kudat MMEA Operations Centre (088-611658). - Jegathisan Sivanesan

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