KOTA KINABALU: A Mongolian-registered cargo vessel carrying some RM2.6mil worth of contraband cigarettes was seized during a special maritime operation - Ops Api - at the Pulau Usukan area on Monday (Aug 10).
Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director for Sabah and Labuan, First Admiral Mohd Rosli Abdullah, said his men were patrolling the area when they noticed a suspicious vessel in their radar system.
He said patrol vessels were instructed to check out the object, and upon arrival, saw the vessel there around 11pm.
“Inspection was conducted and we found five men, aged between 24 and 50, including two Indian nationals on board, ” he said in a statement here Wednesday (Aug 12).
Rosli said they also found a total of 650,000 boxes of cigarettes believed to be brought from Vietnam worth about RM2.6mil on board.
He said initial investigations found that the contrabands were for shipments in different locations, namely Miri, Sarawak and Balikpapan, Indonesia.
“The vessel’s travel route information was dubious; there was no crew list and the port clearance receipt had expired, ” he said.
Rosli said the vessel and crewmen were brought back to the Sepanggar MMEA jetty for further investigation.
Due to the current pandemic, the suspects were required to undergo Covid-19 swab tests and health screenings.
The suspects will be investigated under the Customs Act 1967, he said.