Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) deputy director-general Datuk Nor Aziz Yunana said he was not aware of the ships as highlighted by fishermen in Kota Tinggi but suspected they might be “parked” there until business picked up again.
He said there were many such vessels left anchored along the Malacca and Johor straits since the economic downturn.
He added that ship owners would leave their vessels anchored outside port limits without most of the crew as a means to save costs by avoiding port fees and crew maintenance costs.
“Although there are security concerns because thieves might board these crew-less ships, they are not breaking any laws as long as they remain outside shipping lanes.
“We do monitor the vessels to prevent theft but there’s not much else we can do,” he said after a special media briefing on MMEA’s operations and future plans.
Nor Aziz was commenting on a news report yesterday that hundreds of ships were left anchored off Pengeran and no one knew what the crew were doing.
The report said the area was not a designated anchorage for ships and fishermen were concerned as they claimed sludge from the vessels damaged their fishing gear and marine life, affecting their livelihood.
Nor Aziz said the agency would look into the complaints and take necessary action if any offence had been committed.
Source: The Star