LABUAN: Twelve Vietnamese fishermen were detained by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) for encroaching into the state waters yesterday.

The Vietnamese fishing crew were detained at 7.20am on Pulau Mengalum waters during an operation dubbed Op Naga Timur.

Labuan MMEA director Che Adnan MD Isa said the fishing boat with 12 crewmembers, including the skipper, was found fishing at 9.5 nautical miles away from Mengalum.

“When we detained them, the boatman communicated in sign language. He informed (enforcement team) that they had just entered Malaysian waters and had just started fishing.

“However, the boat has committed an offence under Section 8(b) of the Fisheries Act 1985 for breach of licence conditions,” he said.

Che Adnan said the fishermen, aged between 24 and 45, were taken to the maritime base, adding that the enforcement team also confiscated 60kg of fishes.

He said the case would be investigated under the Fisheries Act on suspicion of conducting diving and fishing activities less than 12 nautical miles from Mengalum.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) personnel arrested 12 Vietnamese fishermen for encroachment. -NSTP/Courtesy of MMEA