While Malaysia’s navy has insisted that no foreign fishing vessels were spotted in its waters in the South China Sea in the past week, its maritime authorities are adamant that up to 100 Chinese boats had entered waters off Sarawak since March 24 before leaving on Sunday.
The head of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), Datuk Ahmad Puzi Ab Kahar, called a press conference yesterday where he specifically pointed out that “Chinese foreign fishing boats” had sailed westward since being spotted, and that the number of vessels detected had dwindled to around 85 on Monday.
“To have 100 boats, we don’t consider that normal. This is unprecedented. So… we have taken a very cautious approach,” he said, adding that two Chinese coast guard ships were escorting the fishing boats.