KUALA TERENGGANU: State Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) enforcement team detained four foreign fishing trawlers for encroaching the Malaysian waters on Sunday.
The team which was patrolling the sea under 'Ops Perkasa Timur and Ops Marikh' spotted the Vietnamese trawlers about between 28 and 32 nautical miles from Kuala Terengganu estuary at noon.
State MMEA Department director Captain Maritime Rahim Ramli said the boats were believed to have used fake licences and permits to fish at the scene.
Rahim said after checking the boats the team found all the four trawlers had fake documents.
He said all the trawlers were using Kelantan and Terengganu registration number such as KNF 2929, KNF 7823, KNF 7900 and TF 2646.
"Thirty-three Vietnamese crew including tekongs aged between 20 and 50, were found without valid documents and their boat permits and licences were believed to be fake," he told reporters at a press conference at the Kuala Terengganu MMEA head office in Pulau Kambing here today.
He said an inspection showed about 11 tonnes of catch and 12,000 litres of diesel were found hidden in the trawlers. The four trawlers and fishing gears were worth RM4.8 million.
"We referred the crew to the Immigration Department for further investigation and the boats were taken to the Kuala Terengganu MMEA Base," he said.
He said if convicted the tekongs could be fined up to RM1 million and the crew could be jailed not more than six months.
"We hope those with informations about suspicious fishing boats should call the force at MERS 999 or the State DM 9 centre at 09622435.