Jo­hor MMEA de­tains sal­vage ship

New Straits Times - - News / Region -

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah’s diving fra­ter­nity has com­mended the Malaysian Mar­itime En­force­ment Agency (MMEA) for its swift ac­tion in de­tain­ing a Chi­nese-reg­is­tered ship, which fled from the In­done­sian navy af­ter it was al­legedly caught il­le­gally sal­vaging a ship­wreck.

Lo­cal divers took an in­ter­est in the ship af­ter read­ing a news re­port and recog­nis­ing it as the same ship that was in­volved in the sal­vaging of three World War 2 Ja­panese shipwrecks in Sabah wa­ters.

It was re­ported that on April 28, the ves­sel, Chuan Hong 68, a dredg­ing ship, had il­le­gally an­chored in Jo­hor wa­ters af­ter it fled from In­done­sian au­thor­i­ties.

The MMEA found the ship 2.4 nau­ti­cal miles south­east off Tan­jung Sapa, Kota Tinggi.

Jo­hor Tan­jung Sedili dis­trict sev­enth mar­itime di­rec­tor Cap­tain Amran Dau said the agency de­tained seven crew mem­bers.

He said the dredg­ing ship was un­der close sur­veil­lance by MMEA.

“It is cur­rently an­chored in Pen­garang wa­ters. Prior to the ar­rest, In­done­sian au­thor­i­ties sought as­sis­tance from MMEA to mon­i­tor the move­ments of the run­away ves­sel.

“In­ves­ti­ga­tion un­der the Sec­tion 491B(1)(L) of the Mer­chant Ship­ping Or­di­nance (MSO) 1952 is un­der­way.”

How­ever, Amran was not aware of the ves­sel’s pres­ence in Sabah wa­ters ear­lier this year, nor did he re­ceive any re­port re­gard­ing the ship’s ac­tiv­ity in the state.

Lo­cal diver and marine ac­tivist Monica Chin gave a thumbs up to the Jo­hor MMEA.

She said the ves­sel should have been de­tained by the rel­e­vant au­thor­ity when it was in Sabah.

“I praise the In­done­sian gov­ern­ment for trea­sur­ing its un­der­wa­ter her­itage by tak­ing im­me­di­ate ac­tion against the cul­prits re­spon­si­ble for loot­ing un­der­wa­ter sites.

“I hope the Sabah gov­ern­ment will re­view its de­ci­sion on Chuan Hong 68 and quar­ters in­volved in the sal­vaging of the three shipwrecks in Usukan wa­ters.”

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