Action Against Errant Boatmen, Companies Must Be Taken To Ensure Accountability

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Monitor boatmen and companies offering sea transport services to prevent more untoward incidences, and BELOW: Hiew King Cheu

KOTA KINABALU: Do not wait for another boating tragedy to happen before sterner action is taken against errant companies offering boat services to locals or tourists alike.

Luyang Assemblyman Dr Hiew King Cheu said the relevant authorities should step up efforts to ensure that the tour boat operators are strictly abiding to the safety protocols that are already law.

In a statement Saturday, he said there are operators or unlicensed boatmen who would cut corners when the enforcement is not that alert, and as a result the passengers are at their mercy.

At the same time, those seeking the services of boats, especially those plying the various islands, should not seek out the cheapest just to save on a few Ringgit, but patronise the mores established companies that are willing to play by the rules.

Hiew also reckoned that in order to prevent a recurrence of boat tragedies involving tourists, such as the one involving 28 tourists from China which occurred on the first day of the Chinese New Year, everyone concerned must play their role.

“It is high time that we put in serious efforts to ensure all precautionary and safety measures are in place. All the boat operators must strictly abide by the guidelines set by the relevant authorities, in regards to our tourists’ safety.

“At the same time, the relevant authorities too must make sure that they have adequate facilities and equipment to cater for any emergencies.

“We must always be diligent and be proactive in safeguarding our valued tourists, instead of regretting and pointing fingers at each other when a tragedy strikes,” he said.

In the Jan 28 incident, the catamaran tour boat carrying 28 tourists from China and three crew members capsized after being battered by strong winds and giant waves while heading to Pulau Mengalum.

Twenty-two victims have been found, of whom four perished. Search and rescue (SAR) operation is still ongoing to find the remaining five victims who are missing.