KLANG: All cargo vessels plying the Straits of Malacca should be equipped with adequate radar and communication facilities to prevent collision along the narrow and busy waterway.
Transport Ministry's parliamentary secretary Datuk Donald Lim said the Vessel Traffic Separation Scheme co-ordinated by the Marine Department would only be effective if all cargo vessels had adequate communication facilities.
He said the collision between the Indonesian container ship MV Titra Mas and Libyan bulk carrier MV Sanko Robust at Kukup, south-west of Johor, on Wednesday at 9.50pm occurred near one of the narrowest points of the Straits of Malacca which is about nine nautical miles wide.
He said the marine police, marine department and port authorities were investigating the cause of the collision.
MV Titra Mas sunk after the collision.
“There is a possibility that the collision occurred due to inadequate communication equipment in one of the vessels,” Lim said yesterday.
He also said there was no point having good communication facilities on any vessel if there were no qualified personnel to operate the equipment.
Lim said the Indonesian Embassy was working closely with Malaysian officials to send back the crew of 33 Indonesians including four women and five children.
In JOHOR BARU, the Marine Department has sent divers to seal the oil vents in the sunken Titra Mas, the Indonesian cargo vessel to prevent leakage.
“There are 60 tonnes of oil on board the Titra Mas and we do not want an oil spill to occur when we hoist up the ship.
“After that, we will have a discussion with the owner of the vessel on how we are going to hoist it up,” said Marine Department deputy director Capt Ahmad Othman.
Meanwhile, Sanko Robust will anchor at sea for investigations into the cause of the collision.