6 foreign boats ‘stuck’ in Sabah ports following barter trade ban

A marine police boat patrolling the waters off Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

KOTA KINABALU: Six foreign vessels are “stuck” in Sabah ports following the ban on barter trade imposed by the state government on March 24 to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Sabah marine police said the six were part of eight vessels from Indonesia, the Philippines and Hong Kong sourcing live fish from the state when the ban was announced.

Four boats are in Sandakan and two in Tawau, said Sabah marine police commander Mohamad Pajeri Ali.

“All foreign boats have been blocked from entering Sabah waters until the state government lifts the ban.

“We have ordered the six boats to leave but due to documentation problems, they will remain in the local ports for the moment,” he said.

Pajeri said marine police had also prevented a vessel from entering Sabah waters recently.

He said 22 marine police boats manned by 320 officers had been deployed for patrol duties during the ongoing movement control order.

“Fourteen checkpoints have been identified in Labuan, Kota Kinabalu, Kudat, Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Semporna and Tawau to block the entry of foreign vessels into local waters and to curb cross-border crime and entry of illegal immigrants,” he said.

He said marine police had also arrested four people for violating the MCO – three in Kudat and one in Kota Kinabalu.