MMEA arrests fishing boat in Bintulu for encroachment, vandalism and theft
KUCHING (May 21): The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) arrested and detained a fishing boat on Thursday for encroachment, vandalism and theft after suing the boat’s crew.
The fishing vessel, with a crew of seven, was caught trespassing, vandalizing and stealing several items from an unmanned oil rig in Bintulu waters and seized following several complaints from the local maritime community.
According to MMEA Sarawak Director, First Admiral Zin Azman Md Yunus, the operation began around 10.30am and they chased the ship as they fled the scene before being told to stop for inspection.
“The crew of seven were arrested by law enforcement officers at 12:05 a.m. as part of Ops Pelantar Merah 1/2022,” he said at a press conference at the resort. maritime of Tun Abang Salahuddin today.
Zin Azman said the case will be investigated under Section 378 of the Penal Code for theft as well as under the Protected Areas and Places Act 1959 (Act 298) for trespassing on an unmanned oil rig which has been classified as a restricted area.
Based on the results of the investigation and inspection, the crew of the fishing boat, all foreigners between the ages of 22 and 40, were suspected to be from a neighboring country.
Among the items stolen by them were safety vests, power cables, satellite phones, wetsuits, a blanket, a radio and some oil rig equipment had been vandalized.
“The crew and the vessel along with the stolen items have been handed over to the Bintulu Sea Area Vessel Detention Center for further investigation,” Zin Azman said.
Regarding the likelihood of potential intrusions on unmanned oil rigs in the future, he said the MMEa and other maritime security agencies will continue to intensify their efforts to improve maritime security, including including the frequency of patrols and measurements.
“MMEA will not compromise with any local or foreign party when it comes to a crime to ensure the prosperity and security of national waters as well as rapid economic development through the maritime sector,” he said.
Ops Pelantar Merah 1/2022 was launched to reduce the occurrence of criminal activity and the intrusion of foreign fishing vessels on unmanned rig areas, especially on the east coast of the peninsula and Sarawak.
MMEA welcomes any information from the community regarding suspicious activity or maritime accidents through their MERS 999 landline or the Maritime Sarawak Operation Center on 082-432544.
Also present at the press conference were Lieutenant Commander Sri Aman Kapal Maritim, Lieutenant Commander Md Nor Ismail, Lieutenant Commander Jesica Beludi, Senior Deputy Director of Sarawak Maritime (Maritime Operations), and Deputy Director of Corporate Communications of Sarawak Maritime, Alexcis Teo.