Op Benteng: 22,815 vessels inspected, according to MMEA

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency officers with ‘Op Benteng’ boats in Port Dickson, September 17, 2020. — Bernama pic
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency officers with ‘Op Benteng’ boats in Port Dickson, September 17, 2020. — Bernama pic

PORT DICKSON, Sept 17 — A total of 22,815 vessels were inspected by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (Maritime Malaysia) with 190 arrests made for various offences, since the implementation of “Op Benteng” on May 12 until August 30.

Its director-general, Admiral Datuk Mohd Zubil Mat Som said out of the number, 107 cases involved fishery-related offences, illegal immigrants (27 cases), smuggling (18 cases) and others (38 cases).

“Maritime Malaysia also seized various case items, estimated to be worth RM10 million,” he told reporters after the handing over of “Op Benteng” boats, here, today.

“Op Benteng” was activated in May under the National Task Force (NTF) with cooperation from the Malaysian Armed Forces, MMEA, Health Ministry, Malaysia Civil Defence Force, Immigration Department and People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela).

On the handing-over event, Mohd Zubil said the agency received seven interceptor boats, worth RM6.3 million, to boost the Benteng operation.

He said the 60-knot speed boats would be distributed to the Special Task Force and Perak, Melaka and Negri Sembilan, Johor, as well as Perlis Maritime.

“The distribution priority is given to states and zones that are close to the neighbouring countries’ waters and exposed to cross-border crimes such as smuggling of migrants and drugs.

“The boats are additional Maritime assets. For the time being, these assets are sufficient for ‘Op Benteng’.

“The agency’s assets are adequate for its over 4,000 personnel at the moment. However, it aims to have 10,000 personnel by 2040,” he added. — Bernama

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