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KUALA TERENGGANU, May 3 -- The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) of Terengganu chased away three Vietnamese enforcement vessels that tried to prevent them (MMEA) from detaining three fishing boats that had encroached into Malaysian waters last Thursday (April 29).
Its director, Maritime Captain Muhammad Suffi Ramli said that the teams from the Vietnam Fisheries Resources Surveillance and Vietnam Coast Guard had encroached into Malaysian waters to prevent KM Gemia from detaining the three fishing boats on suspicion of trespassing and stealing our sea produce.
“At 119 to 120 nautical miles northeast of Kuala Terengganu, three of these enforcement vessels surrounded the KM Gemia detention boat and asked that the three fishing boats be released.
“The Terengganu Maritime Operations Centre then instructed KM Amanah, which was located 35 nautical miles from the scene, to provide assistance before informing the matter to the Maritime Operations Centre at the Putrajaya Headquarters,” he said in a statement today.
He said the swift action of the MMEA personnel resulted in the Vietnamese enforcement teams leaving the Terengganu waters and all the fishermen were then arrested for trespassing as well as stealing our sea produce.
All 19 onboard the three boats, including the skippers, were aged between 21 and 61 and it was found that all of them did not have any valid documents.
Also seized were about 1.5 tonnes of their catch, an estimated 4,500 litres of diesel as well as their fishing equipment.
“All the detainees and seizures were escorted to the Terengganu MMEA jetty for further investigation. It took the MMEA took 55 hours to bring them back to the jetty as two of the boats were damaged and had to be towed,” he said.
Since Op Kuda Laut was launched last June, a total of 87 foreign fishing boats, as well as 960 crew members, have been detained for encroaching into Malaysian waters and for stealing our sea produce.