KUCHING: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) is setting up its own air unit to improve its monitoring of illegal activities at sea.
Director-general Admiral Datuk Amdan Kurish said the agency was in the process of acquiring two Bombardier amphibious aircraft from Canada, which will be used for aerial surveillance.
The aircraft are expected to arrive in September or October.
"We have not decided where we will station them, probably one in Peninsular Malaysia and the other in Sabah or Sarawak.
"They will help us greatly in detecting illegal activities at sea, such as encroachment by foreign fishing vessels," he told reporters Monday after visiting MMEA's Sarawak regional office here.
He added that at present the Air Force worked together with the agency to provide aerial surveillance.
"This is important because a big area can be covered through aerial surveillance and information on encroachment or other illegal activities can be quickly relayed to us for action," he said.
Amdan also said the agency had acquired three helicopters and was now training pilots and crew to man them.
"Currently the pilots are seconded from the Air Force, but at the same time we are sending a number of MMEA personnel to flight schools to be trained as pilots.
"There are now about 12 MMEA personnel undergoing pilot training and we expect to produce our own pilots within the next year," he said.