Malaysia Detains China, Singapore Ships

The foreign vessels are suspected of illegal refueling.

Malaysia Detains China, Singapore Ships

Members of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) take down US ‘opposing forces’ during a Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2012 exercise.

Credit: U.S. Navy Photo

Malaysian maritime authorities detained two foreign ships on suspicion of illegal refueling in the country’s south, local media sources reported October 25.

The MT Chelsea II and MV Lu Rong Yuan Yu 978 were detained about 2.2 nautical miles southeast of Tanjung Ayam at 12:30 pm local time, Tanjung Sedli maritime enforcement chief Capital Amran Daud said, according to the national news agency Bernama.

The Singapore-registered MT Chelsea II, Amran said, was transferring about 45.543 metric tons of Marine Gas Oil (MGO) to the China-registered MV Lu Rong Yuan Yu 978. Investigations, he added, had determined that both ships failed to report their arrival in Malaysian waters and produce the relevant documents required for ship-to-ship operations including fuel transfer.

“Both ships did not report their arrival in Malaysian waters and did not pay the light dues,” he said.

Eight crew, including Indonesian, Myanmar, and Singapore nationals, were reportedly on board the MT Chelsea II, while the MV Lu Rong Yuan Yu 978 had a crew consisting of 17 crew Chinese nationals. Several of the crew members from both ships were brought onshore to the local maritime office to assist in investigations.

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Amran added the case was being investigated under Section 49 1B(1)(k) and Section 49 1B(I)(I) of the Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952, and Section 3 of the Federation Light Dues Act 1953.

It is not uncommon for the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) – often referred to as the country’s equivalent of a coast guard – to detain foreign vessels for charges like illicit fuel transfers or illegal anchoring. Earlier this month, Malaysian authorities detained two tankers – one Equatorial Guinea-registered and another Vietnam-flagged – around the same area of the country on the same charge. They also separately detained the Mongolian-flagged Golden Prosperity for illegal anchoring, making it the 12th vessel caught for that charge in 2015.