Caught by patrolling teams from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, 21 people were held along with the seizure of 11,000 litres of diesel, three tonnes of fish and fishing equipment from the two trawlers. (pic by NSTP/ROZAINAH ZAKARIA)

KUALA TERENGGANU: Two Vietnamese fishing boats were intercepted in waters off here for encroaching into Malaysian waters yesterday.

Caught by patrolling teams from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, 21 people were held along with the seizure of 11,000 litres of diesel, three tonnes of fish and fishing equipment from the two trawlers.

The seized items were valued at RM2.4 million.

State MMEA director Captain Rahim Ramli said the two fishing boats were spotted in waters about 185km off here and when approached by the patrolling team, both tried to sail away.

A 30 minute chase ensued and the two trawlers were stopped at 4pm and 4.30pm, he said.

A skipper and three crew members were found on board the first trawler stopped by the MMEA while 17 others, including the skipper, were detained in the second trawler, Rahim said.

“None of them possessed any valid documents while the skippers also failed to produce any permits to fish in Malaysian waters,” he said.

Rahim said the suspects will be detained further pending investigations for encroaching in Malaysian waters under the Fisheries Act 1985.