Zubil (centre) speaks at the press conference as outgoing Sarawak MMEA director, First Maritime Admiral Robert Teh Geok Chuan (left) and Maritime Captain Zin Azman Md Yunus look on.

KUCHING: Fishermen should have life jackets with them when they go out to sea to increase their chances of survival in the event of a disaster, said Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director-general, Maritime Admiral Datuk Mohd Zubil Mat Som.

He pointed out that in most of the cases involving sunken fishing boats, the fishermen were found without any life jackets.

“If they (fishermen) have life jackets, their chances of survival at sea are high. It does not matter how good they may be in swimming; they will be exhausted from within two hours without life jackets and because of the waves at sea.

“If they have life jackets, they can survive up to eight hours or more and the success rate in searching and rescuing them is high,” he told a press conference at the Tun Abang Salahuddin Maritime Complex (Komtas) at Muara Tebas.

Zubil also advised fishermen to pay attention to the weather conditions when going out to sea.

He said they needed to inform their family members about their fishing locations and the time they were expected to return from the fishing trips.

Before going out to sea, they should also bring with them essential items such as phone chargers, food supplies and so on.

He added that if the fishermen had enough money, they could also set up their own personal locator beacons (PLB) at a cost about RM1,000 each.

“In the event of a disaster, the PLB may be activated so that its owner can be detected immediately by the authorities,” he explained.

The PLB uses the latest satellite technology system, Cospas-Sarsat, a satellite-based search and rescue (SAR) system that detects a 406-megahertz (MHz) distress alert with an accurate emergency location information dissemination system.

Zubil also said that the MMEA would continue to look for the two fishermen who were reported missing at sea when their boat overturned last Wednesday (Sept 16) at Kuala Serupai, Tatau.

He added that so far in Malaysia, no MMEA personnel had been infected with Covid-19 even though they faced the risk when detaining foreign fishermen and inspecting the fishing vessels who were caught trespassing.