KUALA TERENGGANU (Bernama): There was drama aplenty - warning shots and a high-speed chase - when the Terengganu Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) detained six Vietnamese fishing boats with 63 crew members, including the skippers, during a two-day operation.
Terengganu MMEA director Maritime Capt Muhammad Suffi Mohd Ramli said four of the boats were detained on Thursday (April 25) between 7.30 am and 4pm about 141 to 153 nautical miles east of Kuala Terengganu, near the state oil exploration area.
Another two boats, he said, were detained at 1.20pm and 1.55pm, respectively, on Friday (April 26) at 51 and 53 nautical miles east of Kuala Terengganu where they were fishing using the trawling method.
Two of the boats detained on Friday were also believed to have been cloned using local registration numbers.
“Our operation to nab the first four boats was quite challenging as the Pekan Maritime boat had to chase them for nearly two hours before detaining them and towing them back to the Kuala Terengganu Maritime Jetty.
"Warning shots were also fired as the Vietnamese fishermen refused to stop their boats despite being told to do so,” he told a press conference at the Terengganu Maritime Headquarters here Sunday (April 28).
All 63 Vietnamese, aged between 15 and 59, were taken to court today to obtain a remand order against them while the value of the six boats, the 3,000kg of catch, 1,300 pellets of fish fertiliser, 7,000l of diesel as well as fishing equipment was estimated at RM6mil.
Muhammad Sufi also said they found a diary containing the names of maritime ship assets frequently conducting patrols in the South China Sea.
“These names were written in Vietnamese, but we had personnel on board who could read it and this was a shocking discovery,” he said.
From January to April this year, 32 out of the 533 vessels inspected by the MMEA were detained, with the seizures amounting to RM32mil and the fines totalling RM2.3mil. - Bernama