KOTA KINABALU: Nine local anglers were rescued at sea by a tourist boat after their catamaran stalled some 11 nautical miles from Pulau Sulug in waters off the city here.
The five crewmen who remained on the catamaran – four men and a woman – were picked up 7.30pm Monday after they raised the alert that they had failed to fix the engine, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) said Tuesday.
The double-decked catamaran “Fat Cat” sank on Tuesday after water began to seep in overnight as it drifted, Kota Kinabalu MMEA director Maritime Commodore Adam Aziz said.
The agency received a distress alert at 4.10pm on Monday after the vessel stalled and a patrol craft was sent to the position. However, the catamaran had drifted some two nautical miles away.
“By 4.35pm, we received a call from the catamaran owner that nine anglers on board had been transferred to a tourist boat operated by Sea Quest. The crew decided to stay back to repair the engines," he said.
Commodore Adam said the owner called again at around 5pm and requested for the MMEA to assist in rescuing the crew members, who were drifting in choppy seas.
By 7pm, he said the KM Memmon was sent to the stranded catamaran and the five crew members were taken aboard and brought back to the navy’s Sepanggar base near here by 11pm.
“All five were in good health and their owner picked them up,” he added.
He identified the five crew members as Rosmayza Omar, 38, Juwal Awang Ahmad, 58, Muhd Azmi Madeus, 29, Shukeur Main and Desiree Richard Maladau, 43.
However, at the point of rescue, the winds were at 70kph and waves were up to 1.5m to 3m high, so it was not possible to tow the vessel, which had begun taking in water.
Commodore Adam said the owner’s immediate action to report the stalled catamaran was a positive step among maritime communities to be safe while out at sea.