Vessel detained for smuggling sand

The Star

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (APMM) has detained a vessel for allegedly attempting to smuggle 1,600 tonnes of sand.

APMM (southern region) commander Laksamana Pertama Datuk Che Hassan Jusoh said the Maritime Operations Centre received a public tip-off about a tugboat’s suspicious activities off the coast of Tanjung Surat here at about 6am on Sunday.

“A team of four enforcement officers rushed to the scene in a speedboat and saw the tugboat along with a pontoon that it was towing,” he said here yesterday.

Laksamana Pertama Che Hassan said the officers boarded the tugboat and detained six Indonesians, including its captain, all aged between 30 and 55 years.

“Initial investigations show that the tugboat was registered in Tarawa, Kiribati with a Singapore-based company,” he said, adding that the sand-laden pontoon did not have proper documentation.

“We believe the sand was bound for a neighbouring country,” he said.

The case was being investigated under the Customs Act 1967 and the Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952.

Laksamana Pertama Che Hassan said the agency would beef up patrols and enforcement operations here in light of the Hari Raya celebrations next month.

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