Man attempting to smuggle in mud crabs nabbed in Tawau waters

Man attempting to smuggle in mud crabs nabbed in Tawau waters

TAWAU: A man’s attempt to smuggle four tonnes of live mud crabs from Indonesia into this district using a vessel failed when he was arrested by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) two nautical miles southeast of the Sungai Tawau estuary near here yesterday.

Tawau Maritime Zone director Captain V. Siva Kumar said the boat operated by a 31-year-old man was detected moving in a suspicious manner from a neighbouring country before being intercepted and inspected by the team carrying out the operation codenamed Op Cegah Pati Selatan at 8 am.

“An inspection of the boat found a load of white boxes containing live mud crabs that had been smuggled in, apart from finding that the registration number on the licence was different from the registration number on the boat,“ he said in a statement here yesterday.

He said the man also failed to show any valid permit related to the cargo and admitted to receiving payment from the boat owner to bring in the crabs.

Siva Kumar said currently the standard operating procedure (SOP) of the Movement Control Order (MCO) did not allow the entry of boats or ships from neighbouring countries, thus halting all seafood import and export activities.

“We believe that there are a few traders who take the easy way to reap double profits by transferring seafood from foreign boats to local boats discreetly in the border area so that the seafood can be brought in without going through legal import and export procedures,“ he said.

He said the man and the seized goods worth RM120,000 were taken to the maritime jetty and the case was being investigated under the Sabah Ports and Harbours Department Enactment 2002 and the Fisheries Act 1985. –Bernama