MELAKA: "Maritime rage" is suspected to be the cause of a ship collision that is under investigation, says the Melaka government.
Melaka agriculture, agro-based, entrepreneur development and cooperative committee chairman Datuk Norhizam Hassan Baktee said he asked the Marine Department to investigate whether the collision was a deliberate act or an accident.
"Doubts have been raised by local fishermen whether the incident was similar to a road bully case.
"We need to find out whether the incident was triggered due to lack of space for anchoring vessels at the congested Tanjung Bruas Port here," he said in an interview on Sunday (Oct 4).
Norhizam said two skippers of smaller boats, as well as seven workers aboard the rammed ship, had witnessed the incident on Friday (Oct 2).
"Those witnesses can provide crucial details on what actually transpired on that day," he said, adding that there were also four divers carrying out repair works on the hull of the ship when the incident occurred.
In the incident, two ships - tanker MT Strovocos and dredger MV Ocean Line 5001 - collided on Oct 2, about 2.4 nautical miles from Tanjung Bruas Port here.
The collision did not cause any casualties or threat to the environment.
The MV Oceanline 5001 from the Kota Laksamana land reclamation area was heading towards the sand extraction location at the Melaka Port limit before colliding into the port side of the tanker, which was anchored at the port.
Both vessels suffered structural damage in the incident.
Norhizam said he oversees maritime issues in the state as the exco in charge of fishermen.
"There were numerous near-collision reports between ships and fishing vessels, previously.
"The outcome of the probe into Friday's incident can help the state to advocate a move to outline maritime zones in a bid to ensure the safety of our fishermen as well as driving the marine traffic to nearby ports without causing bottlenecks along our coastline," he said.
Furthermore, Norhizam said action must be taken if the incident was deliberately done.
He said Melaka's coastal waters are turning into a marine superhighway and is affecting the livelihood of fishermen.
Norhizam added that the presence of large merchant vessels is causing the fishing area to be congested and limiting the current fishing sites.
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