Malaysia detains 22 Vietnamese sailors on illegal fishing charges

By VnExpress   July 16, 2017 | 10:18 am GMT+7

The fishermen are being investigated for both illegal fishing and for violating Malaysia's Immigration Act.

Malaysian authorities seized a fishing boat and detained 22 Vietnamese sailors for illegal fishing on Tuesday, according to New Straits Times.

The boat was spotted and intercepted about 94 nautical miles from the fishing village of Kuala Kemaman in Malaysia's Terengganu State, the news site quoted a statement from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) as saying.

Muhamad Rezal Kamal Bashah, director of MMEA Kemaman, said the detained Vietnamese fishermen, aged between 16 and 43, did not possess valid travel documents or permits to fish in Malaysian waters.

The MMEA seized a total of 1,200 kilograms (2,650 pounds) of fish, 100 kilograms of dried squid, 800 liters of diesel and fishing equipment worth MYR700,000 ($163,500) from the vessel, according to Rezal.

“We received a tip-off from a local fisherman about the vessel and our men who were patrolling the area reacted to the information and caught the intruders red-handed.

“We are also not ruling out the fact that they might have purchased their catch from local fishermen,” New Straits Times quoted him as saying.

Malaysia has reportedly arrested more than 70 Vietnamese fishermen and seized their boats for illegal fishing in four separate incidents since April. Last December, another 12 Vietnamese sailors were also arrested in Malaysia for similar offenses.

Vietnam’s authorities are trying to raise awareness about maritime boundaries and international maritime laws, and conduct frequent patrols to prevent potential violations.