Exodus At Menumbok Ferry Terminal As Holidaymakers Return To Labuan

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MMEA personnel checking the speedboat passengers before departure to the island.

LABUAN: Hundreds of vehicles enroute to the duty-free-island here are currently stranded at the Menumbok Ferry Terminal due to the over capacity of roll on-roll off (ro-ro) ferries over the last three days, as the festive holiday season comes to an end.

Ticketing management of the various ferry operators’ said the tickets for vehicles from Menumbok to Labuan are only available on June 14, leaving behind the stranded vehicles to be parked at the RM5 per day parking lots provided by the Menumbok villagers.

Despite having told by the ferry operators extra services had been provided they still failed to cope with the mass exodus (of the holidaymakers).

The Kimanis 1 ferry can carry 250 passengers and 50 vehicles; Putrajaya 1,400 passengers and 80 vehicles and the largest ferry, Goodwill Star, over 400 passengers and 100 vehicles per trip.

BENJAMIN BIJION

Labuan Marine Department director Benjamin Bernard Bijion told Bernama a total of 5,796 vehicles with 14,662 passengers (excluding those with motorcycles and passengers without tickets) drove out of the Labuan terminal to the mainland between a period of nine days (May 27 to June 5).

He said the department’s enforcement team had carried out safety inspection on each ferry in accordance to its routine checklist.

“They include the full compliance with the relevant international conventions with regards safety of passengers, asset, passengers’ seating condition and arrangement, clear signage of emergency evacuation with the safety items in good condition,” he said.

Among the factors behind the stranded vehicles were due to unavailability of tickets back to Labuan or having arrived too late at the terminal.

MMEA Labuan personnel checking the ferry manifest.

Some of the passengers who missed the ferries and were stranded at the Menumbok terminal said that was due to the busy roads along the Papar road heading towards Menumbok with traffic starting to pile up caused by the heavy downpours and flooding.

Passenger speed boat operators had also been kept busy, running more than five trips daily to transport stranded drivers with their passengers.

Meanwhile, traffic volume along the Jalan Rancha-Rancha to Sg Keling here Tuesday morning started picking up, as many holidaymakers returned to work or sending their school-going children to schools.

Labuan police chief Supt Muhamad Farid Ahmad said they expected a heavy flow of traffic this week as most travelers would be returning to Labuan.

He urged those motorists driving towards Menumbok to be cautious on the roads.

“Motorists are encouraged to drive with caution, to drive within the speed limit, to keep a safe following distance and not to overload vehicles this weekend. And also remember to buckle up and look at your mirrors all the time,” Farid said.