KUCHING: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has confirmed the identities of four anglers and a boat skipper who were reported missing when they did not return to the 98 Fishing Village jetty here on Sunday (Oct 3).
The skipper is Khamizan Saidi, 40, and the anglers are Christoper Teo (32), Leo Dy Lee Jiann Tarn (35), Ng Ching Hui (36) and Yap Tze Kang (41).
Sarawak MMEA director First Admiral (Maritime) Zin Azman Md Yunus said the boat did not return after going to Karam Berumput up to Tukun Bass waters about 9.3 nautical miles from Santubong.
“The search and rescue (SAR) operations was activated after we received a complaint from the owner around 7am on Sunday.
“According to the owner, the boat departed from the jetty around 5pm on Friday (Oct 1) and they could not be contacted.
“A police report was lodged by the complainant as he feared for the safety of those still at sea.”
As of 3pm Monday (Oct 4), rescuers have yet to find any new clues. The only lead found on Sunday was an orange buoy at a distance of 34.5 nautical miles from the Santubong estuary river and it was confirmed by the owner.
1Adm Zin Azman added that weather conditions on Monday were slightly windy with wind speeds from 20km to 30km per hour and waves around 1.0 to 1.5m high.
The operations involved 90 personnel from the police, Police Air Unit (PGU), Marine Police, Fire and Rescue Department, Marine Fisheries Department, and Civil Defence Force along with six local fishing boats.
He explained that the search focus covered an area of 101 square nautical miles and involved the Maritime KM Cekal vessel for sea search and three PGU assets — Ecureuil AS355N helicopter, Beechcraft King Air B300 and Cessna Caravan C208 aircraft, for air search.
Sarawak MMEA advised the maritime community not to go out to the sea if the weather was bad.
“If it is urgent to go out to sea, always prioritise safety by wearing life jackets. The weather conditions right now are not looking good, especially with the northeast monsoon season now from October until March next year.”