KUALA LUMPUR: Maritime Criminal Investigation Division Director, First Admiral Ahmad Faridi Ferdaus, highlighted the need for the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) to enhance its assets, manpower, and training to protect the nation’s territorial waters.

He said MMEA also believes that the government is still committed to completing the agency’s sea and air assets.

“Although APMM received used assets from other enforcement agencies over the past 18 years, we are still putting them to good use.

“Alhamdulillah, in January this year, MMEA received the First Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV1) which will be named and launched in early March in Sarawak,“ he told Bernama TV as a guest on its ‘Apa Khabar Malaysia’ programme, here today.

On Jan 3, Ministry of Home Affairs secretary-general, Datuk Ruji Ubi, stated in the media that the OPV1 can serve as a mothership to reinforce the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency’s (MMEA) readiness to protect the nation’s waters.

Ruji said the Damen 1800 design vessel measuring 83 metres in length and 13.7 metres wide, is capable of operating for 21 days at sea without resupplying.

Meanwhile, over in Kelantan the state MMEA detained 100 illegal fishermen in the waters of Semerak and Tok Bali today.

State Maritime director, Maritime Captain Erwan Shah Soahdi said the illegal immigrants were picked up during a joint operation with the state Immigration Department and the National Anti-Drug Agency.

“This operation aimed to eradicate the presence of foreign fishermen without permits and curb drug abuse among the local community,“ he said in a media statement here today.

“The detainees, from Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos, are suspected of violating the Immigration Act 1959/63 by residing and working in Malaysia without proper documents or permits,“ he said.

He said 11 of them, from Thailand and Cambodia, were also arrested under the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 on suspicion of drug abuse.

All the detainees were taken to the State Maritime Headquarters and handed over to the Immigration Department and police for further action, he added. -Bernama

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