The Malaysia Marine Department Southern Region said the Malaysian government has been losing out on millions of ringgit daily from anchorage fees from foreign vessels over the past five years, reports Berita Harian.
Marine Department Southern Region Director Dickson Dollah explained that the number of foreign vessels anchoring in the Tompok Utara anchorage area has increased exponentially compared to the number of vessels anchoring at ports.
Instead of going to port, many of these foreign vessels choose to anchor 12 nautical miles outside of national borders, just outside of the Maritime Department’s realm of jurisdiction.
“According to law, foreign vessels are not permitted to anchor even outside of Malaysian waters without any documentation for safety reasons,” added Director Dollah.
Anchorage fees are calculated by the vessel’s tonnage, as outlined in the Federation Light Dues Act 1953 and vessels are charged MYR 0.2 (USD 0.048) per ton.
“On average vessels pay around MYR 10,000 (USD 2,412) to anchor for about three to five days,” explained Director Dollah.
“Which means that from the 105 illegal vessels we detected last week, the government is missing out on MYR 1.05 million in revenue from this week alone.”
Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) announced last Monday (22 March) it has discovered waters east of Johor has become a “hotspot” for foreign vessels to anchor illegally and conduct unlawful activities such as illegally releasing oil into the ocean.
The Marine Department notes the illegal vessels also pose a threat to the environment as the coastline along Kota Tinggi to Mersing is known for its natural beauty and richness in aquatic life.
Since the Marine Department detected a 6 km long oil spill in the area on Sunday (21 March), both agencies fear the said vessels are releasing oil into the ocean which would endanger the environment and the livelihood of the fishermen and those in the tourism industry.
Additionally, both agencies suspect these vessels of conducting illegal transactions such as drug and human trafficking which poses as a security threat to the country.
Director Dickson Dollah added that the Malaysian Marine Department and the MMEA do not possess sufficient assets and man power to keep up constant vigilance on patrolling borders but the two agencies will now work together to leverage their assets and increase security.
A series of earlier MMEA detentions have been reported by Manifold Times (below):
Related: Malaysia: MMEA launches special ops to evict 100 illegal vessels in eastern Johor
Related: MMEA reports Johor eastern waters to be ‘hotspot’ for vessels to anchor illegally
Related: MMEA detains Liberian registered tanker for allegedly anchoring illegally in Perak
Related: MMEA detains Panama registered tanker for allegedly anchoring illegally in Selangor
Related: MMEA detains Thailand registered tanker for allegedly anchoring illegally in Selangor
Related: MMEA detains Singapore flagged tanker suspected of illegal oil transfers in Selangor
Related: MMEA detains Panama flagged tanker for anchoring illegally in eastern Johor
Related: Malaysia: MMEA detains loaded oil tanker for allegedly anchoring illegally in Perak
Related: MMEA detains tanker ‘MT Tahiti’ in Malacca waters for anchoring without a permit
Related: MMEA detains St Kitts & Nevis registered tanker for anchoring illegally in eastern Johor
Related: MMEA detains Malaysia & Mongolia registered tankers for anchoring illegally in Johor
Related: Malaysia: MMEA detains tanker for anchoring without a permit in southeastern Johor
Photo credit: MMEA
Published: 29 March, 2021
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