MMEA seizes tugboat, barge and 2,386 timber logs in Miri waters

The barge with the confiscated timbers .

The barge with the confiscated timbers .

MIRI: The Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) here has detained a tugboat and a barge in Miri waters and confiscated 2,386 timber logs.

Its director, First Admiral Abim Sungom, in a press statement received here yesterday, said their patrol vessel came across the tugboat and barge during Ops Permai which started on Feb 22.

According to him, the patrol vessel detected a suspicious-looking tugboat about 28km from Tanjung Lobang beach about 5pm on Feb 23.

“At 6.55 pm, the tugboat and barge were stopped and a subsequent inspection was carried out.

“It was found that the tugboat was registered under the name ‘Empire 5’ while the barge was registered under the name ‘Empire 3’. They were ferrying timbers,” he said.

He added there were three Indonesian crews working onboard while the helmsman was a Malaysian.

Abim said that further inspection found that the tugboat had committed various documentation offences under the Merchant Shipping Act 1952, Customs Act 1967 and Sarawak Forestry Ordinance 1958.

The Forest Department is still in the process of calculating the value of the confiscated timbers.