Foreign fishing trawler, fishermen detained

The foreign fishing vessel is confiscated and the three foreign fishermen are being detained to facilitate investigation.

MIRI: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) recently detained a foreign fishing trawler for encroaching and illegally fishing in Malaysian territorial waters.

According to MMEA Miri director Captain Md Fauzi Othman, his enforcement team spotted and intercepted the boat about 36 nautical miles northwest of Kuala Baram around 6.15pm on Thursday.

“We arrested three boat crews including the skipper aged between 24 and 39 years,” he said.

He added that all three crews had no identity document on them.

Md Fauzi said prior to the arrest, the boat crews were busy carrying out illegal fishing activities at the area, before they realised the presence of the MMEA team and attempted to evade arrest by escaping.

The fishermen had released all their fishing equipment into the sea as they tried to dispose the evidence and sped off in their boat.

The MMEA team eventually managed to detain the boat after almost 30 minutes of high-sea chase.

The foreign crews and their boat with 6,000 litres of diesel were brought to MMEA Miri Zone Vessel Detention Centre Jetty for further investigation.

The case will be investigated under the Fisheries Act 1985 for carrying out fishing activities in Malaysian waters without a valid permit.

“All crews members had undergone Covid-19 screening test upon arrival at the jetty,” said Md Fauzi.