LABUAN: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) here detained a cargo boat ferrying seven passengers 0.4 nautical miles off Pulau Papan here on Friday (March 17).

MMEA Labuan director Capt. Nudin Jusoh said the unlicensed boat was detained by a patrol boat during its Ops Sejahtera and Ops Khas Kuda Laut operations at about 10am.

“It was during our routine checks on boats and vessels around Labuan waters when we intercepted a suspicious looking small cargo boat with several people onboard.

“Upon checking we found the cargo boat had committed an offence under the Domestic Shipping Licence (DSL) for ferrying passengers without a licence,” he said today.

The failure of any owner, charterer, master, or agent of a ship to possess a valid license is an offence and if convicted for such an offence, is liable to a fine not exceeding RM10,000 or to imprisonment not exceeding one year or both.

Capt Nudin said during checks, the passengers (six Malaysians and a Filipino), aged between 29 and 45 years old, were on board the boat manned by a 33-year-old skipper who failed to produce a valid licensc to ferry passengers during the inspection.

He said the boat, the skipper and all passengers on board were escorted back to the MMEA jetty in Patau-Patau, and all the passengers were released the same day.

“We must remind all boat owners and skippers to always comply with the existing procedures and regulations at sea.

“Passengers must also ensure sure they are using legal ocean transportation so that their safety is secure if there is any mishaps,“ he said. -Bernama