MMEA detains Panama-registered tanker for anchoring illegally off Johor

KOTA TINGGI: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has detained a Panama-registered tanker ship for anchoring illegally off Tanjung Penawar here.

Johor MMEA director, First Admiral Nurul Hizam Zakaria, said the ship was spotted at 10 nautical miles north-east of Tanjung Penawar at around 11am Sunday (June 20)

“The vessel was carrying 24 Georgian crew members aged between 25 and 50, and while all had valid identification documents, the ship’s captain failed to produce permits allowing them to anchor in Malaysian waters,” he said.

In the latest incident, Nurul Hizam said that Johor MMEA has detained a total of 47 ships in three months since launching Ops Jangkar Haram on March 24 to combat illegal anchoring in the southern part of Malaysian waters.

Nurul Hizam said before the operation kicked off, there were reportedly about 105 vessels anchoring illegally in the area, especially off eastern Johor.

“Many of the ships left the area following our action of detaining the vessels, while some were instructed to leave our waters immediately,” he said.

Nurul Hizam said that all 47 detained vessels were investigated under Section 491 B(I) of the Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952 for anchoring without permission from the Marine Department.

The offence carries a fine of not more than RM100,000, imprisonment for not more than two years, or both upon conviction.

He added that throughout last year, Johor MMEA detained 36 ships for illegal anchoring, while 65 have been detained for the same so far this year.

Those with information regarding illegal activities or emergencies at sea can contact the state maritime operations centre at 07-219 9404 or by the MERS 999 emergency hotline.

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