KUALA LUMPUR: The recently formed multi-ministry joint task force to check encroachment by foreign fishermen, especially from Vietnam, is a big success.
In just two weeks, the authorities detained 25 Vietnamese vessels caught fishing in waters off Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan.
The vessels were detained during Ops Naga which involved the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, Royal Malaysian Navy, Royal Malaysian Air Force, police and Fisheries Department.
Besides scouring the waters for illegal foreign vessels, the operation also involved patrolling the airspace.
“During the period, a total of 266 vessels were inspected and 25 were found to be encroaching into Malaysian waters. The vessels were detained and their 123 crews were arrested,” the Home Ministry said.
It added that the crews were being investigated under Section 15(1)(a) of the Fisheries Act 1985 for fishing without the consent of the Fisheries director-general, as well as under the Immigration Act for entering Malaysia without proper documentation.
The Home Ministry is the lead ministry of the task force which comprises the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry, Defence Ministry and Foreign Ministry.
The formation of the task force was announced on April 24.
The ministry said the task force also raided a house, which location was not disclosed, believed to be conducting tonto activities, based on the discovery of high-frequency radio communication devices.
“We will continue with Ops Naga to ensure our waters are not intruded and local fishermen can conduct their activities without competition or disturbance from foreign fishermen,” it said.
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