PUTRAJAYA: Ships plying the waters between Pengerang and Kuantan will be checked to put a stop to illegal fuel siphoning.
Under Ops Padu, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, Royal Malaysian Navy and police will join forces to trace phantom ships carrying stolen fuel and subsidised diesel.
The operation, which will start today, comes in the wake of the fuel siphoning of a Thai oil tanker CP41 in Malaysian waters recently.
MMEA director-general Datuk Zulkifli Abu Bakar said maritime enforcement authorities agreed to work together to prevent the recurrence of such an incident, and the aim is to ensure the safety of lives and property in Malaysian waters.
During the checks, enforcement personnel will go through the vessel registration record, cargo manifest and Customs documents, and ensure that the crew on board have valid seafarers cards.
“The three agencies agreed to collaborate to check vessels that are either anchored or plying our waters. Ships carrying fuel without valid documents or having excess quantity from that stated in their papers will be investigated.
“We don’t want syndicates carrying out fuel siphoning activities to operate in our territory,” he said at a press conference, which was also attended by deputy Navy chief Vice-Admiral Datuk Anuwi Hassan and marine police commander Senior Asst Comm Datuk Abdul Rahim Abdullah.
It was reported that CP41 was in waters off Kuantan when it was boarded by pirates on June 23.
They escaped with 1.5 million litres of diesel, which was part of 3.8 million litres of fuel the tanker was ferrying from Songkhla to Singapore.
The last time such an incident occurred was in 2015 when MT Orkim Harmony was reported missing after leaving Melaka for Kuantan.
Communication with the vessel, belonging to Petronas and carrying 6,000 tonnes of RON95 fuel worth some US$5.6mil (RM22.8mil), was lost as it sailed the South China Sea.
Zulkifli said the area between Pengerang in Johor and Kuantan in Pahang was chosen for due to the heavy presence of vessels.
“We believe demand for fuel is high in the area,” he said, adding that at one point, there were at least 100 vessels anchored there.
Vice-Admiral Anuwi urged the maritime community to provide the authorities with real-time information of any criminal activities for effective and immediate action to be taken.
Ships on Pengerang-Kuantan route cater to oil and gas companies