The Johor state division of Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) on Sunday (29 November) said it has expelled five international vessels from the Tompok Utara area in eastern Johor waters for anchoring without a permit on Saturday (28 November).
Johor Maritime director Nurul Hizam Zakaria said the vessels, registered in Dominica, Indonesia, Palau, Panama and Liberia, were evicted during an operation held by the MMEA on Saturday.
“The Tompok Utara waters have become a gathering point for merchant ships to anchor since the movement control order (MCO) was enforced in March as most countries had taken measures to restrict movement in and out of major ports,” said Zakaria.
“As a result, many merchant ships take the opportunity to anchor around Malaysia illegally.
“I would like to remind vessel operators that the waters of Permatang Timur (Eastern Bank), Beting Ramunia (Ramunia Shoal) and Tompok Utara (North Patch) are still within the Malaysian maritime zone and are not international waters, although they are at a distance of more than 12 nautical miles from the nearest land.
“All activities conducted within those areas will require permits from the Malaysian government in order to avoid any legal action taken against them.”
Throughout the month of November, the MMEA said it has expelled at least 23 merchant ships in the Tompok Utara area and detained 17 merchant vessels throughout 2020.
Related: Malaysia: MMEA detains three vessels for conducting illegal ship-to-ship oil transfer
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Related: MMEA Johor detains Panama-flagged tanker for anchoring without a permit
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Photo credit: Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency
Published: 30 November, 2020
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