Foreign vessel seized in Melaka
MELAKA: After months of complaints by fishermen and locals about illegal sand mining off the coast here, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) seized a Mongolian registered vessel, Oceanline SC 2301, with eight crewmen from China at 12.20am yesterday.
The crew were ordered to anchor off the coast of Klebang on suspicion that they were involved in illegal sand mining about three nautical miles off Pulau Upih.
Fishermen and villagers have, since December last year, highlighted illegal sand mining going on in the area beyond permitted hours between 7am and 7pm.
MMEA Kuala Linggi maritime district director Captain Ahmad Faridi Ferdaus said the vessel was stopped by an enforcement team from the Kuala Linggi MMEA base during an operation codenamed Op Satria Selatan in the Straits of Malacca.
“Checks on the vessel found that it was conducting sand mining beyond permitted hours and its inland shipping licence had also expired,” he said.
The eight crew members, aged between 20 and 51, were detained to assist in investigations under the Continental Shelf Act 1966 and the Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952.
Faridi said these were the first arrests for illegal sand mining this year following complaints from locals.
“We will boost operations to minimise maritime offences and crime in the area. We urge the people to share information on such crimes.”