Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tioman Ferry Disaster

A ferry operator, Seagull Express, for the route from Mersing to Tioman Island was responsible for several human lifes when fire broke out on that ferry.

Insufficient life jacket, improper evacuation procedure and overloading contributed to the deaths and injuries suffered.

The unfortunate event of the fire onboard (left pic) caused 4 deaths and 3 still missing where the search would be called off on Friday if still not found.

Personally, I have not been to Tioman Island before but been to nearby islands for diving. Remembered seeing those long queues at the Mersing jetty waiting for such ferries.

I was not surprised that such ferry operator was still operating even though operating licence and passenger certificate had expired on 16 March 2006 and 18 March 2005. Such ferry operator only thought about the income/profit that they could reap off from the unsuspecting customers. Yet 2 days ago, the ferry operator claimed that they have complied with all licences. I propose that they be banned for life from operating such services again.

It seems that two ship inspectors from the Marine Department have been suspended from duties too. Another clear cut case of close on eye to the ferry operations??? These people were playing with human lifes. It seems that prior to departing the port, a clearance was required from the Marine Department. I always wonder why respective government agencies only take stern actions (checking all ferries in Malaysia now) when such tragedy had happened. Can't they be pro-active a bit. Buck up man!

You could also get some first hand news from another Johnny, Johnny Tan, who is the boyfriend to a girl, whose brother Wong Hann Wen is still missing at sea. The Star newspaper didn't report any negative statements but in this blog, the full account of what has happened when the victims' families requested to go out to the sea were not granted.

Blog is the way for the future as newspapers nowadays wouldn't report it (as they are under close supervision from the top).

The other licensed ferry operator, Bluewater Express, must be laughing all their way to the bank now as they would be the only one now. But you travellers beware as Bluewater is not that safe either as highlighted in this letter by a traveller who went through dangerous moments during her journey to and back as well. Just the same as Seagull Express and disaster waiting to happen too, as quoted by the traveller.
Tags: Tioman, Tioman Island, Pulau Tioman, Seagull Express, Ferry, Marine Department, Bluewater Express



Blogger Jay said...

know more about ferry crossings...

26 September, 2008 18:50  
Blogger Johnny Ong said...

jay - those ferries are more organised

26 September, 2008 19:10  
Anonymous Janine Foo said...

It was a tragic day. But it also brought some good, because henceforth, the Malaysian authorities banned all non-licensed ferry operators running between Mersing and Tioman.

All outboard engine speedboats, slowboats, bumboats and other small fishing-boat side-liners are now no longer allowed to take passengers to the islands.

This has made the Mersing to Tioman route much, much safer and way more reliable, with zero incidents for over 3 years.

Hopefully, this is some consolation to those that were affected by the disaster.

20 May, 2012 10:26  

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