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Warning against intrusion near oil rigs
Published on: Saturday, May 05, 2018
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Kota Kinabalu: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) will take stern action against those caught intruding into oil rig areas in the State waters and conducting fish bombing activities.Its District Director, First Admiral Adam Aziz, said the agency arrested seven people who did not possess any valid documents in the past two years for intruding into the restricted areas.

He said items worth an estimated RM15,000 were seized, including pump boats, which would be destroyed according to the procedure set under the Malaysian law.

"The agency will identify the boats' registration numbers, issue warnings and take appropriate action against their owners.

"Most of these wrongdoers had intruded into the said areas for fishing and some were seen smoking cigarettes and even cooking their meals under the rigs, posing safety risks to the oil rig workers and fishermen," he said.

"Those caught intruding into those areas risk a RM10,000 fine or two years' jail, or both, under the Protected Areas and Protected Places Act 1959," he added.

Aziz said several oil rigs were frequented by the perpetrators, including the ERB West oil rig, believed to be a stopover for them due to its location near Pulau Mengalum.

He said to raise awareness and educate them on the matter, the agency had distributed pamphlets to villages suspected to be active in intrusion activities, such as Pulau Gaya and Kampung Numbak in Sepanggar.

Meanwhile, Adam said the agency is also focusing on fish bombing activities as it can threaten the destruction of the State's treasures in the long-term and affect the tourism industry.

Aziz said five people were arrested for fish bombing activities this year, compared to 14 arrests last year and 18 in 2016, and a total of RM92,500 worth of items were seized during the three years.

Among the seized items, he added, were fish bombing equipment such as detonators and fuses bought through the black market, adding that a fish bomb can explode in a 20m-radius.

It is believed that there are masterminds behind these illegal activities as there are certain individuals who had allegedly paid others to carry out the crimes. However, these are just suspicions and not confirmed yet.

"MMEA will continue to cooperate with the oil rig folks and other maritime communities to ensure there are no intrusions into the restricted areas or fish bombing activities," added Aziz.

The public are welcome to channel any information regarding violation of laws at sea to the Kota Kinabalu Maritime Operations Centre (088-270165). - Jegathisan Sivanesan



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