Vietnamese boat skipper, crew convicted of trespassing

The seven Vietnamese fishermen were charged in the Sessions Court on Friday.

KUCHING: The Sessions Court here slapped a Vietnamese boat skipper with a RM100,000 fine or four months imprisonment for trespassing and fishing in Malaysian waters.

Nguyen Van Dong, 45, pleaded guilty on Friday (Sept 17) to all charges read out by an interpreter before judge Maris Agan.

According to the charges, the accused failed to inform enforcement authorities by radio, telex or facsimile using Malay or English the name, flag, location, route, destination, number of fish taken and the state of the vessel when entering Malaysian waters.

The offence was committed some 93.1 nautical miles from Tanjung Sirik, Sarawak around 7.40am on Sept 7.

The accused was charged under Section 16 (1) of the Fisheries Act 1985.

In addition, six crew members were each fined RM50,000 or jailed for two months.

They are Nguyen Minh Tuan, 26, Nguyen Minh Hung, 23, Nguyen Minh Cuong, 21, Chu Van Tuan, 21, Tran Bao Quoc, 25, and Tran Cong Minh, 23.

All the accused were charged under Section 16 (3) of the Fisheries Act 1985, read together with Section 24 of the same Act, and punishable under Section 25 (a) of the same Act.

If convicted, they can be fined a maximum of RM6mil for the owner or captain, and RM600,000 for the ship’s crew.

According to the facts of the case, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) conducted an operation codenamed ‘Op Pemantauan Pencerobohan Bot Nelayan Asing’ on the day of the incident.

The foreign fishing vessel was detected in Malaysian waters 167 nautical miles from Tanjung Po around 7.40am.

The skipper and crew were detained and brought to the MMEA jetty for further investigation.

Also seized were the vessel’s engine, a Furuno GPS, compass, radio, nets and 1.3 tonnes of fish.

The vessel had no valid documents to enter Malaysian waters.

The prosecution of the case was handled by deputy public prosecutor Danial Ilham Kamaruddin.