Vietnamese fishing boat collides with Malaysian patrol vessel off Sabah

FISHING/AQUACULTURE WEEK

A total of 41 Vietnamese fishermen were taken into custody in Malaysia after their boat collided with a patrol vessel during a failed attempt to escape arrest in the waters off Sabah.

The crew of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) patrol vessel KM Arau said they sighted the Vietnamese boat engaged in fishing activities some 118 nautical miles off Sabah’s Kudat district at around noon (local time) on Saturday, June 11.

Arau was sailing towards the fishing boat to allow the MMEA crews to conduct an inspection when the Vietnamese captain suddenly began a series of aggressive manoeuvres, ultimately ramming his bow into the larger patrol vessel.

The MMEA personnel were eventually able to board the Vietnamese boat and found that its crew lacked the necessary papers for fishing in Malaysian waters.

The Vietnamese fishermen and their catch of squid and other seafood totaling nearly three tonnes have since been turned over to the MMEA’s Kudat station as part of an ongoing investigation.

A local official said the seized boat and its catch have an estimated total value of approximately MYR1.5 million (US$340,000).

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