Malaysian Government Holding Tanker Crew

A Honduran-registered oil tanker and its crew have been detained by the Malaysian Department of Environment in connection with the oil slick that fouled a seven mile stretch of the country's coast at Pengerang in Kota Tinggi.

State Tourism and Environment Committee Chairman Freddie Long said the Singapore-owned tanker was stopped by a patrol boat from the Marine Department, and that the tanker has been officially detained at Port Johor, Malaysia.

"We are matching oil samples taken from the oil slick and the consignment in the tanker," Long said. The tanker is suspected of "de-sludging" off the coast.

Mr. Long said that the Malaysian government will take action against the ship owner, if the oil slick was caused by ship's crew during cleaning activities. He said that the oil spill has directed affected the livelihood of the fishing community near the Pengerang estuary.