PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) seized 33 foreign fishing vessels in Malaysian waters in the first seven months of this year and collected RM6 million in fines.
MMEA director-general Admiral Datuk Mohd Amdan Kurish said 29 of them were from Vietnam, three from Thailand and one from Indonesia. He was speaking after attending the agency's monthly gathering yesterday.
Amdan also handed out Hari Raya goodies from the MMEA Puspanita branch to the regional maritime enforcement heads to be distributed to maritime personnel who will be on duty during the Hari Raya holidays.
Amdan said the number of vessels detained represented a decline compared with the 69 boats seized last year, 103 in 2010 and 137 in 2009.
"The largest number of boats detained last year were from Indonesia (31), followed by Vietnam (26), Thailand (10) and China (2)."
Amdan said the agency had carried out 13,978 inspections from January to June compared with 10,973 for the whole of last year.
"This has resulted in the maritime crime rate dropping to 2.9 per cent, compared with 4.2 per cent recorded last year."
Amdan said from January to June, the agency had also saved the lives of of 238 people, including 30 local fishermen. Assets worth RM449 million were also saved.
He said enforcement operations during Ramadan would be stepped up to check on entry of illegal immigrants and smuggling of items like fireworks.
"We're also carrying out safety checks on boats and ferries to ensure the passengers' safety."