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Chinese vessel suspected of destroying Sabah WW2 shipwrecks finally caught

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Chinese vessel suspected of destroying Sabah WW2 shipwrecks finally caught

By AVILA GERALDINE - May 10, 2017 @ 2:22pm

KOTA KINABALU: A Chinese-registered vessel, suspected to be responsible for destroying three World War 2 Japanese shipwrecks in Usukan, is currently being detained by Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA).

It was reported that the Chuan Hong 68 dredging ship had illegally anchored in Johor waters after it fled from the Indonesian authority.

Johor Tanjung Sedili seventh maritime district director Captain Amran Dau, when contacted confirmed that the ship and its seven crew members were under their custody.

"The Indonesian had sought assistance from MMEA to monitor movement of the vessel.

"Investigation under the Section 491B(1)(L) of the Merchant Shipping Ordinance (MSO) 1952 is underway," he added.

Early this year, a local company Ugeens Berjaya Enterprise commissioned the the vessel to carry out salvaging works on three Japanese shipwrecks in popular dive sites in Usukan off Kota Belud for research purposes.

The controversial research project was carried out in collaboration with Universiti Sabah Malaysia (UMS) and had angered the fishing and diving fraternity.

Sabah Tourism, Culture amd Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun had then instructed UMS to stop its research.

Following the salvaging work, the shipwrecks, teemed with marine life were destroyed and gone missing.

It was learnt that the Chinese vessel sailed to Indonesia and had allegedly scavenged valuable items from a shipwreck near Anambas Islands, Riau Islands province.

Jakarta Post reported that on April 20, Indonesian Navy caught the ship allegedly carrying out the illegal activity but had only sent a single personnel boat to guard the vessel.

In less than six hours after the detention, the ship fled the scene before a military vessel arrived.

Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti believed the dredger had intended on taking the cargo of Swedish supertanker Seven Skies’ shipwreck.

The salvaging ship was identified to have anchored at the exact location of the shipwreck that sank in 1969, at a depth of 64m.

https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2017/05/237943/chinese-vessel-suspected-destroying-sabah-ww2-shipwrecks-finally-caught
 

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