KOTA KINABALU: A Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) vessel was involved in a dramatic early morning mid-sea transfer when it came to the aid of an ill merchant seaman on Wednesday.
The MMEA was alerted of a the situation by a local agent of the tanker MV Maran Gemini that one the crewmen there needed urgent medical attention.
The tanker at that time was sailing near Labuan on voyage from the middle east to South Korea.
A patrol vessel KM Ikhlas was dispatched to help bring the sick sailor back to Labuan for medical treatment.
KM Ikhlas commanding officer Lt Komander Maritim Mohd Shahril said upon reaching the tanker at about 3am, the crew on patrol vessel was told that the sick seaman was the ship engineer Mihaj Velentin, 44.
He was suspected to be suffering from appendicitis.
After a brief discussion, the crew on both vessels decided that the best way to get Velentin onto the KM Ikhlas was to transport him there with a crane.
Mohd Shahril said despite the choppy seas, the transfer operation was successfully carried out and Valentin was brought to the MMEA Labuan jetty at 6am and immediately rushed to the hospital there.
Labuan MMEA enforcement chief Kepten Maritim Che Adnan Md Isa said the agency was constantly prepared to respond to any distress call.