Merchant Vessel, Fishing Boat Collision, 1 Dead, 1 Missing, 2 Rescued

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ALOR SETAR – Two fishermen were rescued, one died while one is still missing after their fishing boat was hit by a merchant vessel in the waters of Kuala Muda about 37 nautical miles west of the fishing town early this morning.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Northern Region operations deputy director Captain Zulinda Ramly said in the incident at about 3am, four Thai fishermen aged between 30 and 45 were trawling for fish.

“We received a distress call at 11am to say a local fishing boat had been hit by a merchant ship from Penang heading to the north.

“During the incident , there was heavy rain and the ship might not have been aware of the presence of the fishing boat until it crashed into the rear portion of the boat,” she told reporters at Kuala Kedah jetty today.

She said other nearby fishing boats came to the rescue and found three victims including one dead at 8am.

Zulinda said MMEA had conducted a search and rescue operation at 3pm to find the missing victim aged 45 who was still missing in the search area about five nautical miles from incident location.

“The last victim was still missing as at 7pm when the search and rescue operation was halted for the day and the search will continue tomorrow on a larger area if the victim is still not found,” she said.

She said the four fishermen had rented the boat from a local owner to trawl for fish.

Meanwhile in ALOR SETAR, the fishing boat skipper Anukun Matuwet, 58, said they tried to signal to the ship but it could not see them in the heavy rain and it crashed into their boat.

Anukun who was rescued in the incident said he and his friends had just placed the trawl before seeing the merchant vessel fast approaching before it hit their boat.

“Our boat leaked as a result of the collision and all of us managed to put on safety jackets before the boat sank about half an hour later,” he told reporters at Kuala Kedah jetty here today.