TAWAU: Three Indonesian men on board a tug boat which drifted into waters off Pulau Sipadan on Semporna last Wednesday were found to be non-suspicious individuals or criminal suspects but just fishermen.
Commander of Sabah Region 4 Marine Operations Force ACP Mohamad Pajeri Ali said the authorities in Semporna had taken the statement from the rescued victims.
“Inspection (of the boat) found that the engine was broken, and that is why we brought the victim and the boat back to the operations base.
“After we recorded their statement, we found that they were in distress and they were just fisherman, hence we provided help and the investigation and documentation process has been completed,” he said.
He disclosed this to reporters after completing a spot check to CIQ Lama Tawau jetty, here, today.
Satisfied with the investigation into the victims, Mohamad Pajeri said all three men from Tarakan, Indonesia would be handed over to the Consulate of the Republic of Indonesia (KRI) tonight, to be transported back to Tarakan.
“There is no element of crime detected, so we have to hand over the victims properly because, to maintain the safety of the water, we believe that the relationship with the community should also be taken care of,” he added.
On Wednesday, three Indonesian men were found drifting in a stranded boat near Pulau Sipadan, Semporna.
Their present was realised at 7 am by personnel of the Malaysian military and Sabah Park who were nearby.
The victims were on their way to Sungai Nyamuk, Indonesia, but were stranded due to engine breakdown and while they attempted to repair it, the erratic weather swept them to Pulau Sipadan.
Meanwhile, a police liaison officer in the Indonesian Consulate in Tawau Ahmad Fadilan thanked the Malaysian authorities for providing the highest level of assistance to the citizens of the republic.
“Although preliminary investigations were done into the boat, the victims were cooperating, their intentions were clear, they were not carrying any contraband, they had documents, they were just fishermen,” he said.