Tugboat, crew detained for operating without licence

The tugboat seized for operating with expired licence.

BINTULU: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Bintulu Zone has detained a tugboat, some 1.9 nautical miles off Muara Sungai Kemena with three crew on-board for operating with expired licence.

Bintulu MMEA deputy operation director Effendy Mohamed Fadil said the tugboat was detained around 1.20pm during a routine patrol after in the area last Saturday.

He added, the tugboat and the crew aged between 37 to 53 years were taken to Bintulu Maritime Zone Vessel Detention Centre for further investigation.

“Two of the crew are locals, while the third crewman is an Indonesian,” he said.

A check carried out showed that the tugboat had previously committed a similar offence and was compounded in 2020.

The case will be investigated under the Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952 for operating using an expired shipping licence, punishable by a fine not exceeding RM10,000 or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both, upon conviction.

Effendy reminded maritime community, especially in Bintulu, to always prioritise safety while at sea by wearing safety jackets and to refrain from doing any leisure activities on the beach due to the rough sea conditions.

Maritime Malaysia always welcomes information from the maritime community to report any illegal activities and emergencies at sea directly to the MERS 999 line or the Bintulu Maritime Zone Operations Centre (086-314 254) / Sarawak State Maritime Operations Centre (082- 432544) which operates 24 hours.