KUALA LUMPUR – Royal Malaysian Navy (TLDM) Chief Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar believes the crew of the TLDM Combat Vessel CB90 that was reported missing in the waters of Pulau Mengalum, Sabah, Sunday, are safe because the safety features and the floating ability of the vessel.
Abdul Aziz said the boat can function even under extreme bad weather conditions and if the vessel turns turtle after being lashed by huge waves, it can return to its normal position automatically.
“I believe the combat vessel and the seven crew members are safe. The vessel’s floating ability is par excellent but I hope there was no leak in the boat due to the extreme weather conditions,” he told Bernama when contacted.
He added that the search and rescue operation involving five TLDM vessels, three from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and Royal Malaysian Air Force would continue despite being hampered by bad weather and rough seas.
The CB90-type of combat vessel lost contact with its base at 11.15am while cruising to LIMA TLDM station in Pulau Layang Layang off Sabah waters while the vessel’s last known position was 20 nautical miles east of Mengalum Island off Sabah.
A statement from the Defence Ministry said the vessel led by Lt Azri Bakar with seven crew members departed Kota Kinabalu at about 5am with another naval ship, KD Paus but at 10.30am, the Marine Region Headquarters received a call from KD Paus informing that the two vessels were coming back due to bad weather.
Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department of Malaysia spokesman said during the time of the incident, the sea was rough with waves rising up to 3.5m while strong winds reaching speeds of 40 to 50kmph posed a danger to small boats.
The spokesman said the department had issued a first category warning while such conditions are expected to continue from Tuesday to Oct 8. – Bernama