MMEA launches new patrol boat as it intensifies efforts to safeguard state waters in 2021

KM Semilang setting off to Tanjung Manis after the official transfer.

KUCHING (Jan 6): The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Sarawak will continue to monitor and safeguard the state’s waters from foreign encroachment and is constantly conducting patrols after they recorded 97 arrests last year.

Speaking at a press conference today, MMEA Sarawak director First Admiral (Maritime) Zin Azman Md Yunus said as of Jan 5, they have yet to record any encroachment cases by foreign fishing vessels.

“Maybe this is due to the monsoon period and also the Covid-19 pandemic. However, we are not sitting on our laurels as patrols are still being conducted around the clock,” said Zin Azman.

Earlier this morning, Zin officiated the handing over of a patrol boat ‘KM Semilang’ to the MMEA’s Tanjung Manis zone.

Currently, the Tanjung Manis zone has only one boat and with the added asset, MMEA will be able to carry out better monitoring and search and rescue operations.

In 2020, MMEA Sarawak has detained a total of 97 foreign fishermen whose boats were found encroaching into state waters and seized about RM10 million worth of fishing vessels and equipment.

Zin Azman

He also said last year, MMEA were involved in 20 search and rescue operations involving those who were lost at sea and medical evacuations.

MMEA Sarawak, he said, currently has a total of 15 ships and 15 boats to carry out their operations at the Tanjung Manis, Bintulu and Miri zones.

He added that sometime this year, MMEA Sarawak will be receiving a new ship that will be stationed at the MMEA’s complex in Muara Tebas.

He added that the new ship will be mainly used by MMEA to monitor the waters surrounding Beting Patinggi Ali from any encroachment by foreign countries.

“This ship will be bigger and able to stay out at sea for a month at a time. The size of the ship will also make it capable of facing rough seas especially during the monsoon season,” he added.

Zin (right) speaking to the crew of KM Semilang at the MMEA Sarawak complex’s jetty this morning.

The monitoring of Beting Patinggi Ali is spearheaded by the Royal Malaysian Navy together with MMEA.

He also said MMEA Sarawak is also involved in Ops Benteng Timur Laut to monitor the entry of illegal immigrants by sea into the state.

On another note, Zin is advising local fishermen to always wear their life jackets when they are out at sea.

“We have seen many cases where fishing boats are equipped with life jackets but they are not worn by the fishermen,” he added.

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Source: https://www.theborneopost.com/2021/01/06/mmea-launches-new-patrol-boat-as-it-intensifies-efforts-to-safeguard-state-waters-in-2021/