SEMPORNA: Two suspected “fish-bombers” managed to escape after a high-speed chase by the coastguard in waters off Sabah’s east coast here.
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Semporna zone commander Norrimi Hasan said one of their patrols boats spotted the fishermen on a pump boat behaving suspiciously in waters off Tanjung Tabu Tabu at around 3.35pm on Tuesday (Feb 12).
“As our patrol boat moved in to check, they sped off. This led to a chase and the fishermen fled towards a swamp where the skipper and a crew member jumped off and escaped,” he said.
Norrimi said that they found fish-bombing equipment and also suspected bombed fish.
“We believe they were carrying fish-bombing in the area before our men intercepted them,” he said, adding that it was first case of fish bombing this year.
He said they seized the pump boat, with a value of about RM5,000, among other items found inside the boat for investigations under the Fisheries Act 1985.
The seized boat was taken to the Azumi Camp jetty in Semporna.
Norrimi said they would continue to step up operations and patrols to check on the problem of fish bombing in the Semporna area that is known for its beautiful dive sites that draws thousands of tourists annually.
Tourism and resort operators have been calling for more action on fish bombing in waters off Semporna over the years in efforts to ensure the world-renowned diving spots remains unscathed.
Norrimi urged people with any information on fish-bombing activities to contact 089-782619 or MERS 999.