KUALA TERENGGANU, May 19 — The Terengganu Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) detained two Vietnamese fishing vessels and 12 crew members, including skippers, for trespassing the state’s waters on Thursday.

Its deputy director (Operations) Mohd Firdaus Mohd Anuar said the boat was detained by KM Pekan in operations dubbed the Op Naga Barat at 155 nautical miles from the Kuala Terengganu estuary.

He said that in addition to boats, fishing and squid fishing equipment, diesel and marine products worth RM3 million were also seized.

“After an hour of giving chase the two foreign fishing vessels were detained. The 12 crew members, aged 19 to 35, were arrested.

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“The inspection found that all of them did not have valid identification documents and the case was being investigated under the Immigration Act 1963,” he said at a press conference at Terengganu Maritime Jetty, here today.

Mohd Firdaus said MMEA is increasing patrols in state waters to curb the encroachment of foreign fishermen which is expected to increase following the arrival of squid season.

According to him, for this year, a total of 10 fishing vessels and 73 foreign fishermen have been detained for trespassing with seizures worth around RM10 million.

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“The squid season that starts between April and August certainly attracts the presence of foreign fishermen.

“Thus, we will increase patrolling and monitoring using the three existing ships and three boats,” he said, adding that since 2019, the state MMEA has detained 135 Vietnamese fishing boats with a seizure value of RM280 million. — Bernama