MMEA detains China-registered vessel off Johor, finds unexploded ordnance on board

  • Nation
  • Monday, 29 May 2023

KOTA TINGGI: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has detained a China-registered bulk carrier ship for anchoring illegally in the waters of east Johor.

Johor Maritime director First Admiral (Maritime) Nurul Hizam Zakaria said the ship was located 20.1 nautical miles (37km) east of Tanjung Siang here.

“The ship is registered in Fuzhou, China and was apprehended at 12.45pm on Sunday (May 28) for failing to produce any permit to anchor from Malaysian authorities.

“Inspection of the vessel found 32 crew members consisting of 21 men from China, 10 men from Bangladesh, and one local man, all aged between 23 and 57,” he said in a statement on Monday (May 29).

Nurul Hizam added that the inspection also found a cannon shell, believed to be related to a finding of unexploded ordnance (UXO) in Tanjung Belungkor, Kota Tinggi.

“We believe the UXO is related to the HMS Prince of Wales case that was reported on May 19.

“We will cooperate with the police and the Maritime Department to identify the shell found, as we believe this belongs to the World War II vessel,” he added.

The matter of the detained vessel is being investigated under Section 491B(1)(L) of the Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952, which carries a maximum fine of RM100,000 or a jail term of up to two years, or both, if found guilty.

Earlier this month, it was reported that illegal salvage operators had resumed plundering metal from the wrecks of the HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse after a lapse of eight years.

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