KUANTAN: Staff of the Department of National Heritage are expected to descend on Pahang to find out more about what is claimed to be a British merchant vessel that had sunk in Sungai Pahang under mysterious circumstances 100 years ago.
The department is to investigate the claim by the people of Kampung Tanjung, Paloh Hinai, Pekan, located close to the vessel that has 'risen' due to the dwindling water level of Sungai Pahang due to the dry weather brought on by the El Nino phenomenon.
This was stated Thursday by Pahang Culture and Tourism Committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Sharkar Shamsuddin who said the department should talk to the village chief and residents who have seen the vessel.
"I do not want to make any speculation. Let the relevant authorities conduct the investigation and make an announcement," he told a news conference here.
Mohd Sharkar, who said he came to know of the sunken ship through media reports, did not rule out the possibility of the state government making the vessel a tourist attraction if it indeed was a British vessel.
Villagers of Kampung Tanjung noticed the emergence of the vessel over the past month, Kampung Paloh Hinai Development and Security Committee chairman Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman said Wednesday.
"The story of the shipwreck is popular among the villages, having been handed down by word of mouth from generation to generation.
"It is said that the vessel sank due to the arrogant attitude of the captain and after the 'spirits' were disturbed," he told reporters.
Abdul Rashid said it was only recently that the villagers were approaching the vessel to take photographs as they had been frightened by the stories narrated over time.
The vessel had a funnel, anchor rope, propeller and engine combustion chamber characteristic of ships of the 1900s, he said. - Bernama