MMEA operation nets 124 fishing boats

A Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency boat patrols the waters off the east coast.

PASIR PUTEH: One hundred and twenty-four vessels involving assets worth RM154 million have been seized during “Op Naga Barat”, aimed at preventing foreign fishing boats from intruding into Malaysian waters and enforcing the nation’s maritime laws.

The seizures – the concerted efforts of five enforcement agencies in the eastern region – were made between May 2 and Dec 31 last year, Maritime Enforcement and Coordination Division (BPPM) director Zulkarnain Mohd Omar said.

The agencies are the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), the police, navy, air force and Fisheries Department.

Zulkarnain said 89 of the vessels belonged to Vietnamese fishermen and the others were owned by Malaysians.

The enforcement teams conducted 2,705 inspections during the operation, he told reporters at the Tok Bali MMEA headquarters here today.

He said 1,187 fishermen had been charged with various offences, comprising 1,033 from Vietnam, 44 from Thailand, 32 from Myanmar, 20 from Cambodia and 58 Malaysians.

Zulkarnain said the operation would continue this year.