Terengganu MMEA director Capt Muhammad Suffi Mohd Ramli said officers patrolling the area onboard the KM Langkawi managed to detain the boats at 93 and 118 nautical miles northeast of Kuala Terengganu at about 4 pm yesterday.
"Checks conducted on the two boats found that 16 crew members including the skippers, aged 18 to 62, did not have any valid identification documents nor possessed any licence to fish in the country's waters.
"Two boats, fishing gear, catch and diesel supply were also seized, with the total amount of the seizure estimated at RM3 million. They are also suspected of using fake registration numbers," he said in a statement today.
Muhammad Suffi said all fishermen were taken for Covid-19 swab tests before being detained, with the case being investigated under the Fisheries Act 1985 and Immigration Act 1959/63.
He also urged members of the community, especially local fishermen, to report any suspicious activities in the country's waters by calling the MERS 999 hotline or the Terengganu State Maritime Operations Centre at 09-6224357.
Malaysia and Vietnam are two of the countries that have over-lapping claims to parts of the South China Sea. China claims most of the waterway.
The fishermen, who were suspected of using fake registration numbers, were taken for novel coronavirus swab tests before being detained, Muhammad Suffi said. - Bernama
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