LABUAN: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Labuan is stepping up its safety checks and measures during the long holiday of Hari Raya Aidifitri as part of its efforts to prevent untoward incident and smuggling activities.
More than 10 passenger speed boats heading to the mainland of Sipitang and Menumbok from Labuan this morning were stopped at sea with each passenger, crews and skippers were thoroughly checks.
Beside the boats, each ferry from Labuan to the Menumbok jetty was also checked and its manifests were thoroughly scrutinised to ensure the operators are ferrying passengers and vehicles within the load limit and capacity.
MMEA Labuan enforcement chief capt. maritime Che Adnan Md Isa said the spot checks were conducted to ensure the operators of passenger boats and ferries are in full compliance with the safety procedure.
“We cannot afford to have complaints about overloaded ferries and boats especially during this festive season, as the safety of the passenger is of paramount importance to all of us.
“Increased spot checks are being made on ferries and boats which include checks on their general condition and making sure that firefighting equipment and lifesaving appliances on board are in good working condition,” he said.
The agency also called for industry players including shipping companies and ferry and cruise terminal operators, as well as individual seafarers and passengers to play their part in preventing incidents at sea.
Che Adnan said the spot checks would continuously be conducted until the festive season is over.
“In addition, we will increase our enforcement team’s presence on the ground to encourage safety awareness,” he said adding only 50 per cent of his personnel are on standby during this celebration.
Bernama reported last week the ferry operator of Labuan Mainland Link Sdn Bhd whose ferries of Kimanis 1, Putrajaya 1 and Goodwil Star would be plying seven trips daily since Thursday last week Labuan-Menumbok vice versa and Juta Bonus with his Galaxy ferry plying two to three trips daily to cater for the increasing demand from holiday makers.