MMEA detains local fishing boat for allegedly hiring foreign crew

GEORGE TOWN: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has detained a local fishing boat for allegedly hiring foreign citizens as crewmembers on Friday (June 25).

State MMEA director Capt Abd Razak Mohamed said the boat was stopped about 4.0 nautical miles west of Kuala Muda here during an operation code-named Ops Benteng Laut and Ops Pertiwi at about 11.45am.

"Our patrol team spotted the boat conducting its fishing activities in a suspicious manner," he said in a statement on Saturday (June 26).

Capt Abd Razak said inspection on the boat found that the boat was manned by a local captain and five crewmembers including two Myanmar UNHCR card holders, aged between 21 and 32 years old.

Capt Abd Razak said the fishing boat was seized under Section 8(b) of the Fisheries Act 1985, which is the hiring of foreigners under the Fisheries Act 1985, where a compound would be issued upon conviction.

The boat was confiscated while the captain and the crew of the boat were detained and brought to Batu Uban Jetty for further action.

He also urged those with information, especially fishermen, to report to MMEA and other maritime agencies for any suspicious activities within Malaysian waters.

"For complaints of maritime offences at sea or emergencies, the public can call our hotline at 04-262 6146 or MERS 999," he added.

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