Effendy (second right) along with his subordinates showing the fishing equipment and vessel used by the Vietnamese fishermen to collect sea cucumber.

BINTULU: The Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) detained two Vietnamese fishing vessels which were caught in the act of fishing illegally in our waters on Tuesday (July 21).

The total value of the confiscated items was RM1.2 million.

MMEA Bintulu Maritime acting director Commander Effendy Mohamed Fadil said the boats were spotted about 45 nautical miles northwest of Tanjung Kidurong by an enforcement team who were carrying out their routine patrol.

“The Vietnamese fishermen’s attempts to confuse the authorities by using fake registration numbers were unsuccessful.

“Five crew members including the captain were on board the first vessel while the second one had a total of four crew members and a captain” he said, adding that all fishermen aged between 29 and 46 years, did not have any legal identification documents.

The Vietnamese fishermen caught by MMEA Bintulu Maritime Zone for fishing illegally in Sarawak waters.

According to Effendy, the value of the catch, the unlicensed equipment used to catch sea cucumber, fishing equipment onboard and the two vessels seized by MMEA Bintulu Maritime Zone has been estimated at RM1.2 million.

The detainees were escorted to the Vessel Detention Centre Jetty, Sungai Kemena, to undergo a Covid-19 screening test as a precaution.

The case will be investigated under Section 16 (3) of the Fisheries Act 1985 for failing to report to the authorities prior to entering Malaysian Fisheries Waters and Section 14 (3) (b) of the same act for using letters, numbers or other means of identification of a different fishing vessel.

The Stapa Maritime ship (left) escorting the two Vietnamese fishing vessels to the Vessel Detention Centre Jetty.