The illegal immigrants after their rescue.
JOHOR BARU: Two illegals died while another 17 are believed to be lost at sea after their boat collided with a Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) vessel and sank off Tanjung Piai.
Southern Region District Six maritime enforcement chief Aminuddin Abdul Rashid said officials had received a tip-off on the suspicious-looking vessel and proceeded to intercept it.
“As officials approached the boat at around 11.40pm on Monday, the skipper ped off and a 10-minute high-speed chase ensued,” he said during a press conference at the state MMEA headquarters here yesterday.
During the chase, the boat skipper rammed the MMEA vessel twice.
“The last collision damaged their boat, which started to sink,” he said.
Aminuddin said 63 people – 51 men and 10 women – were pulled onboard the MMEA vessel, but two died while being rushed to the nearest hospital for treatment.
“Both the victims are Indonesian – one a woman in her 20s and the other a man in his 30s,” he said.
Officials are still searching for at least 17 other passengers.
“We detained two men who admitted they are the skippers. We are unsure of exactly how many people were on board as we believe the skippers did not keep any records,” he said.
“The group was returning to Indonesia before Hari Raya, and had paid about RM1,500 each for the one-way trip,” he said.
All those detained would be charged under Section 5(1)(2) of the Immigration Act 1959/1963, while the skippers would face the Human Trafficking Act 2010.