SUNGAI PETANI: The Northern Region Marine Department found no irregularities in the Tanjong Dawai water taxi operations despite claims by a survivor that the 12 passengers were not provided with life jackets prior to the boat capsizing and causing the death of two people.
Its director Kapt Abdul Samad Shaik Osman said the water taxi passengers were provided with life jackets when they checked the boats at the jetty yesterday.
“We are satisfied with the precaution taken by the operators who also have stickers urging passengers to secure their life jackets on their boats.
“The 14 operators also have competency certificates issued by us but anyone found not providing life jackets to passengers can be fined up to RM1,000,” he said when met at the scene yesterday.
Kapt Abdul Samad added that the passengers involved in the incident would also be interviewed. The case is being investigated under the Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952.
Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) northern region maritime director First Admiral Tan Kok Kwee said water taxi operators have to provide their passengers with life jackets under the law.
“But passengers must also do their part by strapping on the life jackets for their own safety.”
Meanwhile, Consumers Association of Penang president S.M. Mohamed Idris urged the MMEA and Kedah Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia to investigate the trawler boat which was involved in the incident.
“Police investigations showed that the incident occurred after the water taxi propeller became entangled in the trawler boat’s net.
“How could the trawler boat which was supposed to conduct its activities at least eight nautical miles from shore was only anchored a nautical mile from shore?” he said in a statement.
On Sunday, a water taxi carrying 12 passengers from Tanjong Dawai to Pantai Merdeka flipped and threw them including the operator into the sea.
The passengers were rescued but two of them drowned. The deceased were identified as Yap Wai Shiang, 19, from Bandar Sri Damansara and Peek Lai Yee, 34, from Kepong.
They were part of a tour group from Kuala Lumpur visiting several tourist attractions in Kedah over the weekend.
A survivor who only wanted to be known as Cheng, 53, had claimed that the passengers were not provided with life jackets.