MMEA concerned over fishing boats seized by Indonesia in Malaysian waters

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency says this is the fourth such detention by Indonesian authorities in Malaysian waters this month.

PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) tonight said a local fishing boat was still in Malaysian waters when it was detained by Indonesian authorities earlier today.

The fishing boat with registration PKFB 1689, from Pantai Remis, Perak, was detained together with its four crew members, a Thai and three Cambodians.

MMEA deputy director-general (operations) Mohd Zubil Mat Som said it was the fourth such detention by Indonesian authorities in Malaysian waters this month.

“These incidents can be seen as an intrusion by foreign authorities into Malaysian waters,” he said in a statement here today.

According to him, the MMEA operations centre received a complaint from a local fishing boat owner at 10.38am today regarding the presence of an Indonesian ship about 55.4 nautical miles west of Pulau Talang, Perak.

At about 10.45am, an MMEA vessel, KM Gagah, was sent to the location.

At the same time, he said, MMEA tracked the movement of the PKFB 1689 boat via the emergency broadcast from the boat’s automatic identification system (AIS) and found that it was still in Malaysian waters.

“Through the tracking system, it was found that the boat was pursued at about 10.38am.

“Then, at the 58.8 nautical miles mark west of Pulau Talang, it was pulled into Indonesian waters at 1.29pm towards Medan, Indonesia,” he said, adding that the boat was fixed with tracking equipment.

The tracking device showed the boat’s skipper had pressed the emergency button four times, at 10.30am, 10.31am, 10.32am and 11.10am.

Zubil said the MMEA had contacted the Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur and the Indonesian consulate in Penang for more details regarding the incident.

On Feb 2, two local boats — KHF1980 and KHF 2598 — were detained by Indonesian authorities at 68.6 nautical miles south-west of Penang and 3.3 nautical miles respectively inside the Exclusive Economic Zone area.

“Based on their movement records, the AIS showed that the boats were detained while still in Malaysian waters,” Zubil said, adding that both the boats were at the PSDKP base, Lampulo Acheh, Indonesia.

On Feb 3, another boat, PKFB 1593, was detained by the TNI AL-KRI Lemadang 632, about 57.1 nautical miles from Tg Piandang, Kerian, Perak.

Zubil said the boat is believed to be in Belawan, Indonesia.

He said the foreign ministry had been asked to issue a diplomatic note to protest the incidents, which occurred in Malaysian waters.

“We will step up our patrols and surveillance, especially in overlapping areas,” he said, adding that fishermen should be careful not to intrude into the waters of neighbouring countries.

He also encouraged local boat owners to instal the AIS, or the vessel tracking system, to facilitate the tracking of their boats for proof of the boats’ exact locations.