Malaysian Fuel Smuggling Attempt Foiled

Monday January 7, 2013

Malaysian authorities say they stopped a ship from smuggling RM3.6 million ($1.2 million) in diesel fuel through waters off Teluk Sengat in Sungai Johor, Kota Tinggi, the New Strait Times reports.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) said it responded to reports of suspicious activities by several tanker lorries transferring fuel to a vessel at the jetty.

"A team of MMEA officers who were carrying out patrols in Pengerang rushed to the scene and managed to locate the vessel at 8:50 a.m.," said MMEA Captain Ibrahim Mohamed.

"We immediately intercepted and detained the vessel," he said.

"The captain failed to produce documents or permits," he said, adding that the ship contained about 200,000 litres of diesel fuel hidden in eight tanks.

"We believe they were planning to sell the diesel in a neighbouring country."

The vessel, MT Pattrathorn, is registered in Mongolia, and its captain and three crew members are all Indonesian.

The case was being investigated under the Control of Supplies Act 1961 and the Petroleum Development Act 1974, Ibrahim said.

A report last year by the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research found that the nation has higher per-capita fuel subsidies than its neighbors, and that the resulting cheaper fuel can lead to smuggling.