BINTULU: A tugboat and a barge sailing from Kuching to Bintulu were detained for using expired documents to carry cargo.
The Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (Malaysia Maritime) Bintulu Maritime Zone detained the two vessels around 4.20pm near the estuary of Sungai Kemena Bintulu.
According to Bintulu Maritime Zone Director Capt Mohd Khairol Anuar Saad, the agency’s vessel, KM Renggis, intercepted the vessels while conducting operations codenamed Ops Permai and Ops Benteng on Bintulu waters.
“KM Renggis spotted the tugboat towing a barge carrying quarry sand at the estuary at around 4.05pm.
“Our vessel stopped the tugboat and carried out inspections on the boat and the barge, which were found to be sailing from Kuching to Bintulu,” he said in a statement on Friday (Jan 28).
He said that the vessels had been operating without proper authorisation documents to carry 2,800 metric tons of quarry sand. They were also using expired port departure forms.
Four crew members and the captain of the tugboat comprising two locals, two Indian nationalities and one Indonesian, were arrested. The two crew members of the barge, one a local and the other an Indonesian, were also detained.
Those detained are aged between 27 and 57 years old and will be investigated under the Customs Act 1967 which provides for fines and imprisonment if convicted.