MMEA foils bid to smuggle petrol from Kudat into southern Philippines

KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysian coastguard foiled an attempt to smuggle out about 3,400 litres of subsidised petrol into neighbouring southern Philippines.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) intercepted the medium boat with 17 blue barrels about 1.4 nautical miles southeast of Tanjung Layag Layag off the state's northern Pitas district on Saturday (Feb 10).

MMEA Kudat Maritime Zone director Commander Maurice Grenville Abeyeratne, however, said that the suspect managed to manoeuvre towards shallow waters with the skipper abandoning the boat and fleeing towards the mangrove swamp.

He said the coastguard patrols carrying out Ops Pluto and Ops Tiris were alerted by the public to the suspicious boat's movement in the area.

"On arrival at the location, the patrol team observed the boat, and as they were about to dock alongside the boat, the skipper sped off towards the shallow area and abandoned the boat," he added.

He said both the petrol and the boat, worth about RM20,000, were seized for further investigation under the Supply Control Act 1961.

In another incident, MMEA Kudat also detained a Landing Craft-type cargo vessel in waters off Lok Bon, Pitas, on the same day.

The detention came after the Lahad Datu Marine Department informed MMEA that the vessel had moved from its anchorage location without permission.

Four crew members aged between 20 and 52 were detained to facilitate investigations under various shipping laws, including for having sailed from Lahad Datu without permission as well as poor safety conditions on the ship with many licences not renewed.

He said the ship was located to have moved away from its position through the radar surveillance system or Swasla.

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MMEA , Petrol , Smuggling , Barrels


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