Treat detained fishermen humanely, Vietnam requests Malaysia

By Khanh Lynh   May 16, 2019 | 01:00 pm GMT+7
Treat detained fishermen humanely, Vietnam requests Malaysia
Fishermen in Mui Ne fishing village in Vietnam's south central coast. Photo by VnExpress/Dang Le
Vietnam has proposed an amicable settlement after 29 Vietnamese fishermen were caught in Malaysian waters last Saturday.

Malaysian maritime authorities seized two Vietnamese fishing vessels and detained 29 fishermen off the northern coastal city of Kuching in Sarawak State, accusing the Vietnamese fishers of encroachment and illegal fishing.

"The fishers are now held in custody for investigation and will stand trial under Malaysian law.

"They are all in stable condition and the embassy has suggested that Malaysian authorities settle the incident satisfactorily and treat them humanely," the Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia has said in a statement.

The embassy said it will continue to follow the case and coordinate with relative agencies to take necessary and timely measures to protect the legal rights and benefits of the arrested fishermen.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), which arrested the Vietnamese fishers, said the latter were fishing illegally when a patrol ship found them, and they failed to produce a permit or valid personal documents.

The MMEA also seized three tons of fish and fishing equipment worth RM2 million ($480,000) from the two vessels.

Malaysia’s Fisheries Act levies a fine not exceeding RM1 million for the skipper and not exceeding RM100,000 for each crew member or a jail term not exceeding two years for harmful alteration of fish habitat.

There has been no information released about when the trial will be held.

This is the fourth time a foreign vessel has been seized for illegal fishing in Malaysian waters this year and all of them have been Vietnamese.

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