The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has detained 23 Vietnamese fishermen on charges of illegally fishing in the waters off of Terengganu and Pahang states.— Photo New Straits Times
KUALA LUMPUR — The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has detained 23 Vietnamese fishermen on charges of illegally fishing in the waters off of Terengganu and Pahang states.
They were detained during two round-ups called Operation Perkasa Timur and Operation Marikh, about two hours after they were first spotted by the agency’s patrol craft on Friday, the New Straits Time quoted MMEA Eastern regional Director Khoo Teng Chuan as saying.
The MMEA seized two fishing vessels along with 450kg of fish and squid.
Khoo said the two vessels were seized on their way back to Việt Nam with their catches.
None of the Vietnamese nationals had travel documents. They were brought to shore for further investigation.
The Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia has sent a diplomatic note and contacted relevant authorities to learn more about the case.
Fishing boats seized in Thai waters
Thailand’s Naval Zone 2 force seized three Vietnamese fishing ships with 33 fishermen onboard for illegally entering and fishing on its territorial waters, the local Thai Rath newspaper reported.
The ships were seized offshore Nakhon Si Thammarat Province in southern Thailand on Friday night. They are now being detained in Songkhla Province.
A source in Songkhla said three boat captains went on trial on Saturday morning. Crewmembers will have to give testimony over allegations that they were forced onto these ships.
Also stopped was a Thai vessel with 14 people aboard that carried 30,000 litres of oil to feed the Vietnamese ships.
Since the beginning of 2016, the Naval Zone 2 force has stopped 17 Vietnamese ships involved in illegal fishing.
Earlier this week, the Thai navy said they detained another five Vietnamese vessels for illegally fishing in Thailand’s exclusive economic zone.
Speaking at a press conference at the Sattahip military port in the southern Chonburi Province on Thursday, Rear Admiral Watson Booneung said the ships carrying 37 fishermen were seized off Thailand’s Trat coastal province, which borders Cambodia.
Crewmembers said they were fishermen from the southern province of Cà Mau who left their hometown on March 27 and had their boats seized on April 5.
The area where they were arrested is near the location where five Vietnamese boats with 47 fishermen onboard were captured on April 3.
Watson Booneung revealed that the Thai navy seized a total of 11 boats with 102 Vietnamese fishermen onboard for illegal fishing in Thai waters April 3-7. —VNS