MMEA Extends SAR Operation For Capsized Boat Victims

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KUANTAN – The Malaysian Maritime Agency’s (MMEA) search and rescue (SAR) operation to find the missing victims of the capsized boat in the waters off Sabak Bernam is still ongoing despite the fact that all passengers have been found.

Its director-general, Admiral Datuk Mohd Amdan Kurish, said the number of passengers in the boat was initially said to be between 60 and 80, but so far, 20 people were rescued and 61 bodies were found, bringing the total to 81 passengers.

“We have to get the exact number of passengers involved in the incident from the survivors…hopefully by today,” he told reporters after being given a guard of honour in conjunction with his retirement at the Sultan Ahmad Shah Maritime Academy in Gebeng near here today.

Mohd Amdan said the operation would only be called off when they were satisfied and received the confirmation about the exact number of passengers involved.

In the early morning tragedy last Thursday, the boat transporting illegal immigrants from Indonesia capsized about 16.2 km from the Selangor waters in Tanjung Sauh.

It is learnt that the passengers boarded the boat in Kuala Sungai Bernam at around midnight to return to Tanjung Balai, Indonesia.

In another development, Mohd Amdan said the investigation on the MT Orkim Harmony hijacking case was almost complete and all evidence had been gathered for prosecution purposes.

“Right now, we are waiting for the Vietnam authority’s decision to extradite the eight suspects to be prosecuted in Malaysia,” he added. – BERNAMA