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MMEA ‘Ops Jangka Haram’ a success, plans collaboration to increase region security

01 Apr 2021

The Johor state division of Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) on Wednesday (31 March) reported the results of its ‘Ops Jangka Haram’, a special operation to crack down on foreign vessels anchored illegally in eastern Johor waters.

‘Ops Jangka Haram’ was launched when the MMEA discovered that 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. In a single sweep, the patrol team detected 105 vessels anchoring illegally.

It was conducted over seven days from 24 to 30 March and involved five of MMEA’s ships, four patrol teams, two helicopters and two teams from the Special Task and Rescue Force (PTK).

“The location is attractive to these vessels as the waters are deep enough for them to anchor as they wait to enter a port lay-up as operating procedures for the shipping industry have changed due to Covid-19 related issues,” said the MMEA. 

“However, the vessels are meant to pay an anchoring fee should they choose to anchor in the area and the number of illegal vessels pose a threat to the safety of the community as well as the environment.” 

In total, MMEA reported it has detained 18 vessels, almost all of which are foreign flagged vessels. After being warned by the patrol team, nine vessels chose to pay the anchorage fee, and 71 other vessels left the area.

 At present, the MMEA is waiting on a decision by the Malaysian Marine Department as to which course of action is to be taken for seven remaining vessels that ‘stubbornly’ choose to remain. The detained vessels will be brought to court for further investigations under the Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952.

While ‘Ops Jangka Haram’ managed to effectively curb the number of vessels anchored illegally in eastern Johor waters, MMEA said it believes this to be a potentially recurring issue as the area is a high traffic location with merchant vessels and passenger ferries crossing the Singapore Strait. 

Therefore, it plans to propose the following including some collaborations with neighbouring countries to manage the security of the region in a ‘holistic’ way:

  • Establish trans-border data to track the movement of vessels between borders
  • Amendment of the law to invoke heavier penalties on offenders
  • To pool information with neighbouring countries and conduct joint operations
  • To increase awareness of the law amongst the maritime industry
  • To obtain more assets and increase man power for its operations

 

A series of earlier MMEA detentions have been reported by Manifold Times (below):

Related: Malaysia: MMEA detains five more oil tankers in special ops, total detentions stand at 18
Related: Malaysia: MMEA reports no new vessels anchoring illegally, five days into special ops
Related: MMEA search detects 15 illegally anchored oil tankers in latest aerial sweep
Related: Malaysia: Government losing out on millions in revenue from unpaid anchorage fees
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: 1 April, 2021

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