KUCHING, Oct 6 — Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Karim Rahman Hamzah has called on the state government and relevant agencies to formulate laws to regulate boat owners or operators who organise deep-sea fishing expeditions.
“They must have certain licences because we don’t want deep-sea fishing enthusiasts or anglers from places such as Singapore or peninsula Malaysia, to be involved in accidents at sea,” he told reporters last night at the seaside village of Kampung Telaga Air, about 25km from here.
He made the comments after visiting the search and rescue (SAR) operation post, which was set up after two boats capsized near Pulau Satang Besar in as many days.
In the first incident that happened on Friday, all five passengers, including three anglers, remain unaccounted for.
In the second incident, an assistant boat skipper is still missing after a boat with nine others on board capsized in stormy seas on Saturday afternoon.
As of yesterday, the search conducted by SAR teams from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, Fire and Rescue Department and Sarawak Coast Guard failed to find the six.
Karim also said he hopes those taking fishing enthusiasts to sea must be fully trained and familiar with the routes, while boats must be equipped with lifejackets and lifebuoys.
“Whoever brings the fishing enthusiasts must also have a radio for communication purposes, in case of any untoward incident,” he added.
Karim, who is a qualified and licensed deep-sea diver, advised those with little knowledge of the sea that they must be accompanied by experienced boat owners or operators.
“For those who are new, they should look for a suitable date and time and study weather conditions before venturing to sea. Things like this are important,” he said, adding that the current weather conditions are unpredictable.
“Apart from that, they should look at who is operating the boat, and the safety equipment, such as whether the boat has lifejackets or lifebuoys.”