Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Fish bombings and encroachment reduced


A concerted drive among the authorities in Sabah against fish bombings and encroachment to offshore oil installations has gained reasonable successes, with a reduced number of incidents in the recent months around the waters off the oil- producing operational areas of Shell Malaysia’s Exploration & Production (SM-EP) in North Sabah. These efforts will continue in the form of engagements with local fishing communities in Kota Belud, Tuaran and other districts to disseminate information and awareness on the dangers of fish bombings and encroachments, just as the fishing season has begun again in earnest. One such engagement was conducted last Saturday at Kampung Baru-Baru, Tuaran, by the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency MMEA), Tuaran District Office and Shell Malaysia. MMEA’s Director of Operations for Sabah and Labuan, Captain Mohd Amir Haji Hamzah who led the awareness session, reminded fishermen to observe existing laws, especially on fish bombings and encroachments to offshore oil installations. He also briefed the villagers on the role and responsibilities of MMEA, which incorporates enforcing the existing maritime laws as well as being the coordinator for any search and rescue operations at sea. Speaking at the gathering, Tuaran Assistant District Officer Anyi Mahmud advised the fishermen on the need to co-exist with the natural environment to ensure a sustainable livelihood from the marine resources. “Fish bombings not only endanger the lives of those working in nearby oil installations and the infrastructure, it also destroys the corals which are fish-breeding grounds,” he explained. Shell Malaysia EP’s Head of Security, Mohd Kassim, also briefed the gathering regarding the danger of fishing around the offshore installations, giving a few highlights of past instances of such occurrences. At the same gathering, Shell Malaysia EP’s Sabah Asset General Manager, George Ling, commended the concerted efforts by the authorities in addressing the fish bombing and encroachment issues together with Shell and promised to step up this sort of engagement in other districts as well, particularly during the fishing season. “We are pleased with this close cooperation and support and from the engagements that we had with the fishing communities in Mantanani and Tuaran, there has been a good awareness regarding the risks around our offshore oil installations,” Ling added.