Monday February 4, 2013
Marine cops detain 20 foreigners in vessels near Pontian
By YEE XIANG YUN
JOHOR BARU: Two Marshall Islands registered vessels carrying 20 foreigners including those from Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia were detained for anchoring without valid permits in Tanjung Piai waters near Pontian.
According to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) district enforcement chief Maritime Captain Aminuddin Abd Rashid said the agency noticed the vessels during an operation conducted at around 10.30am recently.
He said the vessels, registered in the island country located in the northern part of the Pacific Ocean, were MV Cape Madrid and MV Cape Magnus.
“Both vessels were found to be anchoring illegally as they did not pay its light dues, also known as parking fees to anchor in that spot,” he said.
Capt Aminuddin added that 20 of the vessels’ crew from the Philippines, Latvia, Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria and China were arrested to assist in investigations.
“The men, including the vessels’ captains, have been brought to the Johot Baru district maritime headquarters for following actions,” he said.
He also said that the vessels’ owners could be charged under Section 491B(1)(l) of the Merchant Shipping Ordinance for failing to inform the Marine Department director of ship-to-ship activity in Malaysian waters and failing to pay their light dues.
He added that the offence was punishable by fines of up to RM100,000 or two years’ imprisonment or both.
“The MMEA takes such matters seriously although light dues may seem like a small matter and tend to be overlooked.
“We urge the vessel owners to obey the law as it could prevent untoward incidences such as vessels colliding into each other, pollution and loss of lives,” he said.