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Ban on foreign fishing vessels
Published on: Sunday, March 29, 2020
By: Stefyanie Myla Micheal
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Marine Police intercept a boat off Pulau Gaya.
Kota Kinabalu: Marine Police have introduced three new measures on Sabah waters to ensure that the Movement Control Order (MCO), in operation since March 18, is effective.

Sabah Region Four Marine Commander ACP Mohamad Pajeri Ali said they involve blocking fishing vessels from Phillipines and Indonesia, banning the entry of fishing boats from Indonesia into Sabah waters and the entry of vessels from Hong Kong which brought live fish.

“This enforcement has been in place since the MCO was issued where Marine Police Force carried out orders by conducting 14 sea checkpoints located in seven key areas such as Labuan, Kota Kinabalu, Kudat, Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Semporna and Tawau.

“So far, one fishing vessel was prevented from entering Sandakan while six others, four in Sandakan and two in Tawau, have also been prevented.

“However, due to documentation issues that need to be resolved with certain departments, the six vessels are still in the state.

“Once the documentation is completed they will be directed to exit the state immediately,” he told a press conference near Pulau Gaya on Saturday.

“During the MCO period, the Marine deployed and directed 22 boat patrols to carry out Op Covid-19 with 320 officers and personnel across Sabah,” he said

For the first two weeks, the compliance of the maritime community was difficult because most of the movement from island to the mainland was unscheduled.

“But after the National Security Council (MKN) issued a guideline that was immediately enforced, the public appeared to understand and abide by the order as directed in the new guideline,” he said.

According to him, there are 197 islands throughout Sabah, of which 50 are inhabited.

“In Kota Kinabalu only two islands are inhabited, Gaya Island and Sepanggar island, but along the east coast such as Semporna there are too many inhabited islands.

“However, Marine police will always do their best to ensure that the maritime community comply with the law under the MCO,” he said.

Asked why the maritime community still go out, Mohamad Pajeri said it was mostly to make a living.

“Not everyone has the money, some live from hand to mouth. They are living on a daily catch, which is their main source of sustenance.

“But for some residents of Gaya Island for example, there is a mini market on the island and food is also sent to the island on a regular basis, so no problem.

In addition to enforcing the MCO, Marine police also focus on cross-border crimes such as illegal immigrant (Pati) entry.

On March 26, eight men were arrested after they went out to sea for leisure fishing in Kudat, they were detained after they refused to adhere to the Marine instructions to go home.


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