124 vessels with assets totalling RM154m seized in joint operations

16 Jan 2020 / 22:04 H.

PASIR PUTEH: The operation codenamed ‘Op Naga Barat’, which combined five enforcement agencies in the Eastern Region, saw the seizure of 124 vessels involving assets worth RM154 million from May 2 to Dec 31 last year.

Maritime Enforcement and Coordination Division (BPPM) director Rear Admiral Datuk Zulkarnain Mohd Omar said the five agencies were the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP), the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and the Department of Fisheries (DOF).

“The operations was aimed at preventing the intrusion of foreign fishing vessels and the enforcement of laws in the country’s waters,“ he said at a press conference at the Tok Bali MMEA headquarters, here today.

He said that out of the total number of vessels detained, 89 were Vietnamese boats and 35 were local, with various offences committed.

“The value of assets seized were RM133.5 million for foreign fishing boats, local fishing boats (RM16.5 million) and cargo ships RM4 million,“ he said.

He said the authorities had conducted 2,705 inspections of foreign and local fishing vessels throughout the operations.

“Of the total, 1,187 fishermen were charged, with 1,033 fishermen from Vietnam, Thailand (44), Myanmar (32), Cambodia (20) and 58 local fishermen,” he said.

Zulkarnain said the integrated approach would help curb foreign fishermen from encroaching into Malaysian territory and provide better opportunities to local fishermen.

He said based on the success of the operations, it would be continued for this year, with the government considering adding to existing assets to better control the 613,000 sq km of the country’s waters from any threats. - Bernama

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