10 Oct 2020, Kota Tinggi: Six Chinese fishing boats were detained after being detected entering the country’s waters without permission. The arrest was made by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Tanjung Sedili Maritime Zone in the waters of East Johor at 9am yesterday. Tanjung Sedili Maritime Zone Director Maritime Captain Mohd Zulfadli Nayan said, his team received the intrusion information from the Johor Port Authority (LPJ).
The MMEA patrol boat then carried out Op Jaksa/Op Benteng Laut and detected the six boats where three of them were close to each other at two different positions at 2.1 and 2.3 nautical miles south of Tanjung Setapa.
Further examination found that all the boats, registered in Qinhuangdoa, China were operated by six captains and 54 Chinese crew aged between 31 and 60 years.
“All of them also failed to submit any permission to anchor at the location from the Malaysian Marine Department as well as permission from the Malaysian Fisheries Department and LPJ,” he said in a statement here today. According to Mohd Zulfadli, the six captains were taken to the Tanjung Sedili Maritime Zone office for further investigations and all of them also underwent a Covid-19 screening test as a measure to prevent the spread of the pandemic. He said all the unloaded boats were believed to be from China believed to have stopped anchoring because some of them were damaged.
“Agents or managers of foreign fishing boats are advised to obtain the approval of the Fisheries Department of Malaysia before doing any repairs or refueling, especially in the area of Pasir Gudang Port or surrounding areas. We are serious in ensuring that the country’s waters are always protected and will not compromise with any party that violates the law to take appropriate action,” he said.
According to him, the case is being investigated under Section 16 (3) of the Fisheries Act 1985 for entering Malaysian fisheries waters without notification and Section 491B (1) (L) of the Merchant Shipping Ordinance (OPS) 1952 for anchoring without the approval and notification of the Director of Marine. He said, if found guilty, the captains can be fined not exceeding RM6 million per person and crew of RM600,000 per person according to the Fisheries Act 1985. For Section 491B (1) (L) OPS 1952 is liable to a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or to imprisonment not exceeding two years or to both.