Tugboat, barge detained for unlawful operation


KUCHING: A tugboat and a barge were detained by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) for operating with expired documents.

Sarawak MMEA director First Admiral (Maritime) Zin Azman Md Yunus disclosed that the tugboat and the barge were stopped approximately five nautical miles from Tanjung Po at around 10pm.

He said that an MMEA asset was on Ops Permai patrol around Kuching waters and spotted the tugboat and the barge.

“The tugboat and the barge, which carried sand weighing about one metric tonne, were spotted at around 1.50pm, at least one nautical mile from where our asset was.

“An inspection was conducted on the boat and found that it was operating on an expired licence and did not have any port clearance.

“There were six crew, including the captain of the tugboat, aged between 22 and 67, who were detained that night.”

He added that two crew, who are locals, had complete identification documents, whereas four Indian nationals owned suspicious identification documents.

The crew, tugboat and barge were escorted to the MMEA jetty in Muara Tebas for further investigation.

This case will be investigated under the Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952 for using expired documents.

The case will also be investigated under the Customs Act 1959/63 due to the four Indian nationals possessing suspicious identification documents.

The MMEA can be contacted at MERS 999 line or the Sarawak Maritime Operations Centre at 082-432544 which operates 24 hours.

The tugboat and the barge.

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