Singapore fishing vessel detained by Malaysian authorities

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Singapore, May 29 (IANS) A Singapore-registered fishing vessel and its four crew members have been detained in Malaysia for allegedly illegally fishing in its waters, media reported on Friday.

“We are aware that an AVA-licensed fishing vessel, SMF1195, has been detained by the Malaysian authorities,” a spokesperson from Singapore’s Agriculture-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA)said.

“Singapore understands that the fishing vessel was in Singapore waters when it was first approached by the Malaysian authorities. Singapore has registered our concerns with Malaysia over this incident and is in contact with the Malaysian authorities.”

The vessel’s owner, Lian Yak Fish Merchant, said the boat was about four nautical miles off Pedra Branca on Tuesday, when it was approached by a Malaysian patrol boat, Channel News Asia reported.

The fishing vessel was later detained at Kota Tinggi in Johor.

“We arrived the next day, and the crew members were detained without bail,” the company said.

Lian Yak Fish Merchant added that the vessel was probably not in Malaysian waters, as it had been fishing in the area for over 40 years, and even though it had misunderstandings previously, they were resolved.

“Our vessels are equipped with global positioning systems so their locations are clearly indicated. The crew wouldn’t enter Malaysian waters. They also recorded their position at that time, and they are very clear of where they are,” the company’s business development manager said.

The four crew members are foreigners between the ages of 36 and 62, and they are scheduled to appear in court next Tuesday, the firm added.

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