50 Vietnamese boats chased away from T’ganu waters during MCO – MMEA

Muhammad Suffi does not deny that there were intrusions in certain locations. – File photo

KUALA TERENGGANU: The Terengganu Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has chased away 50 Vietnamese fishing vessels from the country's waters since the Movement Control Order (MCO) came into force.

Terengganu MMEA director Capt Muhammad Suffi Mohd Ramli said of the total, 10 boats were chased out from May 11 to 15.

"The government's directive to chase away foreign vessels from our waters is in line with efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country," he said in a statement here yesterday.

Muhammad Suffi, however, did not deny that there were intrusions in certain locations, especially when enforcement boats or vessels were conducting patrols elsewhere, or were docked at the base for re-supply.

He said this was inevitable due to the vast sea area and limited number of assets available, but the MMEA was working with other agencies to address the problem in the best possible manner.

Muhammad Suffi said to ensure that foreign fishermen did not re-enter Terengganu waters, the MMEA had taken certain drastic measures including seizing all their fishing gear, as well as disposing ice and other supplies into the sea.

"This form of action has shown great effectiveness, as by examining the registration numbers of boats that were found to have infiltrated during the MCO, none have returned to Terengganu waters.

He also requested the maritime community to continue channeling information and complaints via the MERS 999 hotline or the Terengganu Maritime Operations Centre at 09-6224357.