MMEA foils attempt to smuggle Rohingya, Myanmar migrants off Penang waters

MMEA foils attempt to smuggle Rohingya, Myanmar migrants off Penang waters

GEORGE TOWN: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) foiled an attempt to smuggle 60 migrants believed to be ethnic Rohingya and Myanmar in Operation Redback XVII 2022 in collaboration with the Australian Border Force (ABF) in the waters off Penang here on Sept 1.

MMEA deputy director-general (Operations) Rear Admiral (Maritime) Hamid Mohd Amin said his team expelled them from about 3.0 nautical miles (nm) west of the Sungai Pinang in the operation that began on Aug 26 till today.

“Apart from this, eight Myanmar nationals were detained in the same operation in the waters off Penang for not being in possession of any documents..

“A total of 13 Indonesian foreign fishing boats were also successfully driven out of the country’s waters with the help of the Royal Malaysian Navy as a result of the detection carried out by the Malaysian Maritime CL 415MP aircraft positioned approximately 67 nm southwest of Kendi Island on Sept 5,“ he said after the closing of Operation Redback XVII which was also attended by deputy commander of the Joint Agency Task Force Australia, Commander Ky Blackman here today.

Elaborating on the operation, Hamid said in total Operasi Redback had carried out 178 inspections and searches on vessels at sea involving three arrests and two deportations.

He said the operation at sea involved three marine assets and 60 operatives with routine patrols, inspections and monitoring of water borders and hotspots continued throughout the period.

“Operation Redback is an initiative between the MMEA and AFB in efforts to curb and combat cross-border criminal activities on water, based on a memorandum of understanding between the Malaysian and Australian governments regarding assistance and cooperation involving maritime operations and enforcement signed jointly on July 12, 2011,“ he added. – Bernama