ASSISTANT Minister of Transportation, Datuk Dr Jerip Susil (centre) performing the miring ceremony during the River Transport Safety Campaign at the Sibu Express Boat Terminal yesterday. Miring ceremonies are generally performed to honour gods, spirits and ancestors. In other cases, they can be performed to make a wish or to seek success in future ventures whether in business or travel.

SIBU: Sarawak River Board (SRB) launched the River Transport Safety Campaign at the Sibu Express Boat Terminal here yesterday, in conjunction with the Gawai Dayak and Hari Raya Aidilfitri festive seasons. SRB will be conducting three phases of the campaign for both the Gawai Dayak and Hari Raya festive season.

The first phase is from May 25 until 31, while the second phase will be from June 8 to 10. The third phase will be from June 22 to 24.

Disclosing this yesterday, Assistant Minister of Transportation, Datuk Dr Jerip Susil said a total of 196 enforcement personnel and staff and 18 boats would be involved in the operation.

“The enforcement would be beefed up to ensure that the express boats do not flout the river safety rules and regulations,” he said at the launching of the campaign. “Steps taken include the registering of passengers embarking the express boats and the conducting of river patrols to prevent overloading.

“Our enforcement officers are monitoring the situation to ensure express boats comply with the rules and regulations. At every jetty and wharf, we will monitor wrongdoings.

“We are also conducting continuous checks on river safety in the hope that no untoward incident would happen,” he said, adding that the ‘No Ticket, No Entry’ rule would be strictly enforced at the terminal. He advised all boat passengers to put on lifejackets for their own safety. He added that the Sibu – Kapit sector and Kapit – Balleh/Putai sector of the Rajang River were expected to experience increasing number of passengers.

“Gawai Dayak Operation 2017 found the daily average of passengers using the Sibu Express Boat Terminal was 8,000 people, the Kapit and Song terminal 4,000 people and the Belaga wharf in Kapit 2,000 people.

Regarding requests for extra express boat trips during the festive season, Dr Jerip said SRB was ready to face the increasing number of passengers by sending enforcement personnel and instructing the boat operators to provide extra boats if necessary.

“SRB will approve the requests for extra express boats trip with immediate effect. Boat operators need to fill out the 10P forms (extra trip booking forms) available from the nearest SRB office,” he added. SRB Chairman, Dr Murni Suhaili, SRB Controller, Richard Tajan were among those present at the launching ceremony.