KOTA KINABALU – Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman wants the relevant authorities to enforce stricter regulations on boat operators ferrying passengers, including tourists.
He said boat operators should equip their boats with the necessary equipment such as GPS tracking system and radio communication device as well as making life jackets mandatory for every person on board their vessels.
“My deepest condolences to the families of the victims who perished in this most tragic incident. My thoughts and prayers also go to those who are still missing,” he said in a statement Monday.
He said the relevant authorities were still mobilising the necessary resources to assist in the ongoing search for those still missing.
“I also expect a thorough investigation into this mishap. We must do our utmost to prevent such incidents from happening,” he said.
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director-general Maritime Admiral Datuk Seri Ahmad Puzi Kahar said all tourist boat companies must comply with the licensing requirements and the public should lodge a complaint if they knew the companies failed to do so.
The catamaran with three crew and 28 tourists from China was reported to have capsized due to strong winds and big waves on Saturday, an hour after it left the Tanjung Aru jetty.
On Sunday, three of the tourists were found dead, while 22 other people, including the skipper and a crew, were pulled out of the waters safely.
Five more people are still missing – four of them are tourists from China.