Vietnamese boat seized off Malaysia for illegal fishing

By VnExpress   December 11, 2016 | 12:40 am PT
12 Vietnamese fishermen have been detained by Malaysian authorities 'in an act of deterrence'.

The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has seized a Vietnamese boat for allegedly fishing in Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the New Strait Times reported on Saturday.

The boat, with 12 fishermen on board, was boarded and seized at 9 a.m. on December 8 about 120 nautical miles from Malaysia’s Pulau Perhentian, the daily quoted a statement from the Naval Region Command 1 as saying.

“Further inspection found that none of the crew had valid identification documents or a valid permit to fish in the Exclusive Economic Zone,” the statement said.

The boat was towed to Pulau Perhentian before being handed over to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency for further action.

The seizure of the Vietnamese fishing boat is "an act of deterrence", as well as to convey the message that Malaysia is taking acts of encroachment or illegal activities by foreigners seriously, the statement said.

In the first six months of this year, 84 fishing boats and 608 Vietnamese fishermen have been seized for illegally fishing in the waters of neighboring countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Colonel Tran Van Nam from Vietnam’s Coast Guard explained that many fishermen are unaware of international maritime laws or the boundaries of Vietnam’s waters, so they unwittingly stray into foreign fishing zones. However, others are aware of their actions, Nam admitted.

To prevent illegal fishing, the country’s Fisheries Resources Surveillance Department is trying to raise awareness about maritime boundaries and international maritime laws, and conducts frequent patrols to prevent potential violations.

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