MERSING: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has detained 19 undocumented foreigners from Vietnam in two boats for trespassing and illegal fishing.
Mersing zone MMEA director Maritime Comm Khairul Nizam Misran said the two trawlers were spotted about 12.8 nautical miles (23.7km) north-east of Pulau Aur at 2.30pm on Tuesday (Sept 27).
“The crew was arrested while trawling side-by-side by the MMEA and the marine police while on Ops Jaksa and Ops Bersepadu patrols.
“The illegal activity was reported by a local fishing boat that happened to pass nearby Pulau Aur,” he said in a statement here on Wednesday (Sept 28).
The foreigners, including the two boats' skippers, claimed to be from Vietnam but failed to produce any identification documents. They also do not have any permits to fish in Malaysian waters, he said.
“We found fishing equipment and various types of fish, totalling about 3,000kg,” he said, adding that the total seizure was worth about RM3.1mil.
The suspects, aged between 18 and 51 years old, have been taken to the Teluk Gading MMEA post for further investigations.
The case will be investigated under the Fisheries Act for trespassing and illegal fishing, and also under the Immigration Act 1959/1963 for failing to produce valid identification documents.
Those with information about illegal activities such as trespassing and fishing without a permit should contact the Johor MMEA operations centre at 07-219 9404 or MERS999 for any emergencies.