Two ships seized over illegal oil transfer.
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has seized two ships believed to be involved in illegal oil transfer activities in Pengerang, Kota Tinggi.
Tanjung Sedili enforcement officer Commander Abdul Hadib Abdul Wahad said the incident took place at 11.40am yesterday during an operation conducted by the MMEA"s air and sea units in the area.
?We detected two ships suspiciously close to one another near Tanjung Stapa,? he said.
He added that as the MMEA helicopters approached the ships, they noticed oil hoses connecting the ships, leading to suspicions of illegal oil transfer.
The helicopters then contacted MMEA vessels close by and the two ships were inspected.
Officers discovered that one of the ships was transfering 30,000 litres of marine fuel to the other.
Both the ships" captains were unable to produce any documentation to verify the legality of their activities.
They were also found guilty of failing to notify authorities of the arrival of their ships in the area and neglecting to pay a lighthouse service charge.
Further investigations showed that both ships had started their illegal transfer at noon.
Both ships were seized by authorities an hour later.
Identification documents of the ships" 30 crew members from Indonesia, India, Myanmar, Bangladesh and the Philippines were confiscated while the captains and ship engineers were taken to the MMEA headquarters in Johor Baru for further questioning and legal action.
Under Section 491B(1)(l) of the Merchant Shipping Ordinance, failing to inform the director of the Malaysian Marine Department of ship-to-ship activity in Malaysian waters is punishable by fines of up to RM100,000, two years" imprisonment or both.