Sabah: Four fish bombers caught, boats and catch seized

KOTA KINABALU: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) here and in Sandakan caught four suspected fish bombers and seized a total of about 190 kilograms of what is believed to be bombed fish along with three boats.

Kota Kinabalu Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director First Admiral Adam Aziz said two pump boats together with explosive items and diving equipment were also seized in Pulau Gaya in an operation around 6.35pm.

“While patrolling, MMEA spotted two suspicious pump boats at 0.2 nautical mile from Pulau Gaya.

“As our men approached the boats for inspection, they immediately sped off towards the island forcing our men to chase them.

“The pump boats headed to Pulau Gaya and as they approached the shore, four men, two on each boat, jumped and ran towards a village in the island, leaving the boats behind,” he said yesterday.

Adam said several MMEA personnel then jumped into the water to retrieve the boats.

Inspection revealed numerous explosive items and diving equipment believed used for illegal fish bombing activity.

About 140kg of bombed fish were also seized and all the seized items were taken to the MMEA jetty in Sepanggar for further investigation.

Adam said the case would be investigated under the Fisheries Act 1985.

In SANDAKAN, MMEA detained four foreigners and seized a pump boat for alleged involvement in fish bombing in Lankayan waters on Wednesday afternoon.

MMEA Deputy Director of Operations DM17, Maritime Commander Mohd Khairulanuar Abd Majid said the success of the detention was due to cooperation from the Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area (SIMCA) which reported the incident to the Maritime Malaysia.

“The MMEA patrol boat, which was patrolling Ops Timur Pluto in the area, had inspected the pump boat around 5pm yesterday at 2.2 nautical miles northeast of Lankayan Island.

“From the inspection, we found five bottle glasses believed containing  explosive besides axes, fuses, matches and fish containers containing about 50 kilograms of fish.

“MMEA is taking this fish bombing seriously as it can damage the marine ecosystem. In addition to pollution, marine life, especially coral reefs, could be destroyed, “he said in a press conference, at MMEA DM17 Base here, yesterday.

The four foreigners aged 15 to 47, believed to be Filipinos,  have no valid identification document.

They were arrested under Section 26 of the Fisheries Act 1985 for fishing using illegal methods such as explosives.

The pump boat was later taken to the MMEA Sandakan Jetty and handed over to DM17 investigating officer for further action.

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