Pulau Mengalum. Photo by Google Maps
Pulau Mengalum. Photo by Google Maps

A total of 27 Vietnamese crewmen aboard two fishing vessels were detained by Malaysian marine police on Tuesday.

They had been being spotted allegedly trawling about 15 nautical miles northwest of near Pulau Mengalum, Malaysia, New Straits Times reported, citing regional Maritime director Datuk Mohammad Zubil Mat Som.

The Malaysian-owned vessels, although licensed to fish, were seen trawling, which is illegal in Malaysian waters. 
The director said the authorities will investigate the crews’ identification documents to check for forgeries.

About 200 kilograms of fish valued at 500 ringgits (US$120) were confiscated by officials. Two sea turtle shells were also found. The turtles, which are a protected species, were suspected to have been consumed by crew members.

He added that there are 55 local boats that look like Vietnamese vessels in Malaysia, and that Marine police will make frequent checks to see if they have abused their licenses.

Read: Illegal fishing crew arrested in Malaysia, boat confiscated