The Marine Department of Malaysia has formed a special taskforce with the Sabah Ports and Harbor Department to investigate the tragic sinking of a catamaran off Pulau Mengalum, Kota Kinabalu on Saturday.
The vessel was carrying 28 tourists from China and three crewmembers when it capsized due to rough weather. Three fatalities, all passengers, were recorded, while six people are still unaccounted for.
According to the Merchant Shipping Ordinance of 1952 (amended 2014), all boats carrying commuters or tourists must provide all passengers with insurance coverage. However, the current insurance status of the sunk vessel has yet to be determined.
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Speaking to local media agency Bernama
, Marine Department director-general Datuk Baharin Abdul Hamid said that the investigation will “look at all aspects, including security and communications equipment provided by the operator. In addition, the investigation will also look at the load carried as well as the license owned by the skipper.”
Baharin added that the taskforce will consider recommending making installation of tracking devices compulsory for all passenger boats. The insurance status of the vessel and the coverage of its passengers are still under investigation.
The Marine Department is closely watching around 4,200 passenger boats in its registry to ensure compliance with all safety regulations and standard operating procedures to avoid a repeat of the tragedy.
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