MELAKA: Maritime authorities have foiled an attempt by a “fugitive” tanker to slip past them by navigating the Strait of Malacca under the cover of darkness.
The vessel was among 13 ships that were detained by Johor Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) on March 27 for anchoring without permission in Tanjung Balau waters off Johor.
MMEA Negri-Sembilan/Melaka director Maritime Captain Haris Fadzillah Abdullah said the vessel, registered as MT JW Jewel, was intercepted at 2.30am yesterday after it was spotted in the waters of Tanjung Tuan.
“Probes showed that the vessel, which is registered in Vietnam, was heading north, ” he said.
He said they had promptly acted on an alert from the Maritime Sea Surveillance System at 9.55pm on Friday and intercepted the vessel about 15 nautical miles from the Port Dickson coastline.
“Finding the vessel not at its location on Friday night, our counterpart in Johor alerted us, ” he said.
Haris Fadzillah said a 47-year-old captain and his 44-year-old chief engineer, both Indonesians, had been detained for questioning.
The case is being investigated under the Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952 for dropping anchor without permission, which could see a fine of up to RM100,000, two years’ jail or both, upon conviction.