Tuesday, October 16, 2007

MORE PICS & Video – Burning Tioman Ferry Sank – 4 dead (3 missing), 4 Injured at 15 Oct 07; Missing feared Drown – Life Jacket found; S.A.R. resumes

MORE PICS & Video – Burning Tioman Ferry Sank4 dead (3 missing), 4 Injured as at 15 Oct 07; Missing feared Drown – Life Jacket found; Search & rescue continue

No Update from Malaysiakini on the Ferry tragedy but the Aftermath of Ferry Tragedy is mentioned in

Headlines Online: Oct 16 Oct 16, 07 11:31am with a new addition on

Wrangle over convert’s insurance payout Andrew Ong | Oct 16, 07 12:24pm
Malaysiakini-tv - no new video
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The SAR (Search & rescue) resumes early today as it was abandoned yesterday due to bad weather. Three are still unaccounted for and must be presumed dead as one life jacket was found. They even call the doggies in to sniff on dead bodies when they went looking for them along the sea shores.
ABOVE: Wong Soo Ching throwing watermelons into the sea, which she believes will help the authorities find her missing husband who was lost when the ferry taking them to Pulau Tioman
Chinese old folks rituals were conducted by relatives of the missing three. Water melon were thrown in t sea to determine if the missing is alive or not.
After the incident, the authorities in Jabatan Laut Mersing (ABOVE) opened their eyes and discovered the flaws and inadequacies in the Ferry service. Insufficient life jackets and straps were missing. In fact one drowned when it was not properly fastened in the moments of panic. And survivors complaints of being abandoned were hotly denied by the Captain & the crew. A great number of tourist were also worried about the lack of safety instruction in some of the smaller ferries but they took the risk.
Also missing is the Transport Minister this time around after he left some comments when the stowaway was found to originate from KLIA. Has he gone for another check-up in Australia?

ABOVE: The survivors

October 15, 2007 22:02 PM
Ferry Captain Denies Neglecting Passengers

MERSING, Oct 15 (Bernama) -- The captain of the "Seagull Express 2" ferry Monday denied that he and his other two crew members had forsaken the safety of the boat's passengers for their own when it caught fire and sank off Pulau Tioman on Saturday.

ABOVE : The Captain Wan Fahrorozi Wan Naman, 34, showing both his hands with only a big blister on his Right hand index finger(BELOW) and flatly denied the passengers were "abandoned". In the confusion, it would be too much to expect the three of them to help 100 people. God only help those who help themselves. If your time is not up and you have not accomplished what you set to do in physical life, then you will survive.

Wan Fahrorozi Wan Naman, 34, and his two colleagues, Abi Mustapha and Mohd Fazli Mohamad (both in their 30s), when met by reporters at the Mersing jetty here today, said that they actually had tried to extinguish the fire. "How can we abandon ship? We know our responsibilities. If we had abandoned the ferry, more passengers would have perished. When I noticed the fire I myself took a fire extinguisher and tried to put it out while screaming "Fire" to warn the passengers. I even distributed life jackets to them," he said. Wan Fahrorozi said that he also managed to contact the captain of the Jentayu Express, another ferry which was trailing his by about 15 minutes to come to their aid before smashing windows of the ferry after the cabin became enveloped in smoke."

ABOVE & BELOW: The other two crew members of the ferry

I and my crewmates were the last to leave before being saved by the Jentayu Express. I also tried to launch a life craft but was unable to so because the flames were spreading rapidly," he said. He said that he also suffered burns on both hands and that it was the most terrifying incident he had experienced since he became the ferry's captain 15 years ago. "However, it has not broken my spirit from continuing with my career. I just have be more careful next time," he added. The captain of the Jentayu Express, Faizal Akhbar, 23, who was also present, said that when he received the distress call from the "Seagull Express 2", he immediately contacted the Marine Department's control centre at the Mersing Jetty to summon aid. "Upon nearing the stricken vessel, I launched my lifeboat which can accommodate about 30 passengers to pluck survivors from the sea," he said.The ill-fated ferry, which carried 106 passengers, including the captain and two crew members, caught fire at 12.30pm on Saturday.

ABOVE: Choong Yoong Kim, 43, and BELOW:Wong Soong Leng, 37

The tragedy claimed four lives -- Hoo Lee Lan, 67, from Kuala Lumpur, Hong See Tiew, 53, and Teh Siew Lian, 52, both from Klang dan Tee Moi@Haw Lee Maoi, 68, from Batu Pahat. Search operations are still continuing for three missing passengers identified as Choong Yoong Kim, 43, and Wong Soong Leng, 37, (ABOVE) both from Petaling Jaya and Wong Hann Wen, (BELOW) 29. Meanwhile, the families of the missing held special Chinese prayer rites at the same jetty for their safe return. Choong Yoong Fatt, the brother of Choong Yoong Kim, when approached said the rites were customary in such situations.

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October 15, 2007 21:05 PM
Recovery Of Life Jacket Indicates Victims Feared Drown

KUANTAN, Oct 15 (Bernama) -- The Maritime Enforcement Agency (APMM) today recover a life jacket which belonged to Seagull Express 2 ferry, leading to a belief that the three passengers who were lost at sea were feared drown. Co-ordinator of search and rescue (SAR) mission, Maritime Kapt Tan Kok Kwee, said the orange jacket, with the word 'Seahawk/ZTDC' was found about six nautical miles from Pulau Tokong Bahara and Pulau Jahat at 2.30pm. "We contacted the ferry company which confirmed the jacket belonged to them," he told a media briefing here today. Tan said SAR members would try to look for the victims by following the direction of the flow of the jacket.


"With the find, we can know the flow of the ocean current and this will be used as guide to where the victims might be found," he said. However, Tan said, it could be not confirmed that the life jacket was worn by one of the victims. Tan dismissed a report by a local private television station today that a victim was found today. "The SAR operations, which involve the Police maritime and air units, navy and fire department will continue until at night," he said. The operation was launched to search for Choong Yoong Kim, 43, Wong Soong Leng, 37, both from Petaling Jaya and Wong Hann Wen, 29 from Klang, who were still missing after the incident. The ill-fated ferry, which carried 106 passengers, including the captain and two crew members, caught fire at 12.30pm on Saturday.

The tragedy claimed four lives -- Hoo Lee Lan, 67, from Kuala Lumpur, Hong See Tiew, 53, and Teh Siew Lian, 52, both from Klang dan Tee Moi@Haw Lee Maoi, 68, from Batu Pahat. The injured comprised three women -- Lee Zsi Winn of Johor Baharu, Yong Sait Yoon of Kuala Lumpur and Ngow Lee Ling of Batu Pahat -- and a boy, Choong Wing Yi, from Kuala Lumpur.
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ABOVE & BELOW: The survivors would be scared for the rest of their lives
October 15, 2007 14:39 PM

Search And Rescue Ops For Ferry Victims Called Off

MERSING, Oct 15 (Bernama) -- Bad weather and strong winds disrupted the search and rescue operations this morning to find three victims, which are feared drown after the "Seagull Express" ferry caught fire seven nautical miles off Tioman Island on Saturday.

Johor Fire Department deputy director (operations), Abdul Hamid S. Abdullah, said the condition did not allowed rescue boats to go out to conduct the search. "We were about to start the operation in the morning but the weather did not permit us to do so. There were drizzles in the town area at 9.45am and at sea there were still heavy rain, strong wind and storm," he told reporters here today.

ABOVE & BELOW: The doggies

He said as many as ten firemen, five from the track dog unit of Jalan Klang Lama and the rest from Johor Baharu, would use two rescue boats to conduct 'surface searching' from Mersing to Tanjung Leman, covering 42 nautical miles. "Three track dogs would also be involved in the search," he said. Abdul Hamid the operation would continue once the weather improves. "Over 70 police personnel with he help from divers and air unit are also involved," he said. The operations were to search for Choong Yoong Kim, 43, Wong Soong Leng, 37, both from Petaling Jaya and Wong Hann Wen, 29 from Klang, who were still missing after the incident.
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MUAR: Checks on all island boats using the Mersing jetty have been redoubled since the sinking of the Seagull Express 2 on Saturday.

The Marine Department has been instructed to thoroughly check each boat to make sure they are in good condition and their permits or licences are in order. The department will also ensure that the boats are not overloaded and have adequate lifesaving equipment, such as life jackets. Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman (ABOVE) said he had directed the state Marine Department to carry out more thorough checks. "We have taken immediate action to prevent a recurrence of the tragedy," he said at the Hari Raya open house at his residence in Sungai Mati yesterday. He also expressed his condolences to the families of the victims. He said the state government did not take the tragedy lightly as innocent lives had been lost. He added that initial investigations revealed that the boat was unlicensed and unsafe to ferry passengers with not enough life jackets.

ABOVE: Office of the Segull Expresss in Mersing town

The engine is believed to have exploded on the way to Pulau Tioman. The search for the three missing passengers has been intensified with assistance from the Royal Malaysian Air Force and three sniffer dogs. The Fire and Rescue Departments of Johor and Pahang have also been roped in, said Mersing district police chief Deputy Superintendent Harun Idris. The three sniffer dogs from the Johor Fire and Rescue Department will search the Pulau Tioman coastline in the hope that the three made it ashore. But until late yesterday afternoon, there was no sign of them, he said. An official from the Pahang Fire and Rescue Department, Yaacob Abd Rahman, said 17 officers and divers had been mobilised in the search area. Family members of the missing three held a vigil here, hoping and praying their loved ones will be found. In Kuantan, Ee Kian Yen, who lost his 67-year-old mother, Hoo Lee Lan, said it was like a scene in an action movie when the fire broke out. Ee said everyone started to panic as the strong wind drove the smoke into the air-conditioned passenger area.

"Several passengers from the back started shouting for help and came running to the front row. I kicked out a window when I realised people were having difficulty breathing," he said. After he got the five family members with him out on deck, he said he managed to secure life jackets for his wife and mother. By then passengers were jumping off the upper deck into the sea to get away from the searing heat. Many did not have life jackets, and the ones that were available had no proper clips or ropes, said Ee. His mother's life jacket could not be properly fastened and she lost it when she jumped into the water. She was unconscious when dragged onto the rescue boat that picked up Ee, his wife and 3-year-old daughter. Hoo will be buried on Wednesday.

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October 15, 2007 20:00 PM
Abdullah Wants Transport Ministry To Inspect All Ferries And Passengers

KEPALA BATAS, Oct 15 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (ABOVE) Monday instructed the Transport Ministry to inspect all passenger boats and ferries to ensure that they are safe. He also advised boat owners to be responsible and not use boats which do not meet the specifications as ferries. He told reporters this when asked to comment on the ferry tragedy on Saturday which took four lives. The ferry with 106 people on board caught fire and sank en route to Pulau Tioman from Mersing. Three people are still missing. Abdullah said he spoke to Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy this morning and it was confirmed that the ferry operated without a licence. "The ferry has no licence.

The ferry could not be given a licence because the specifications were not right," he said. Saddened by the incident, Abdullah said action had to be taken because the owner had violated the law.

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October 15, 2007 19:33 PM
Ferry Safety Aspects Given Added Emphasis In Aftermath Of Tragedy

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 15 (Bernama) -- The ferry tragedy off Pulau Tioman on Saturday has everyone doubling efforts where ferry passenger safety is concerned.
In PERLIS, all passenger ferries plying between Kuala Perlis and Pulau Langkawi are adhering to conditions laid down by the Peninsular Malaysia Marine Department (Mardep) which has been closely monitoring their voyages, says an official of the department.The department's deputy officer at the Kuala Perlis Jetty, Parmaswaran Manikam, said all officers would undertake mandatory checks on each ferry before they set sail to ensure that each voyage was safe.These include checking that no ferry is taking more passengers than the permissible number besides ascertaining whether safety equipment like life jackets are adequate and in good condition.

A quick check by Bernama at the Kuala Perlis ferry terminal showed that travellers had not postponed or cancelled travel plans on ferries despite the tragedy off Pulau Tioman which had claimed four lives. "We need not worry about safety when boarding ferries here as life jackets are provided for and officers from the Mardep are always monitoring the situation," said Nordina Johar, 23, a frequent traveller on ferries travelling between Kuala Perlis and the resort island. Nordina, who works at a tourist centre in Langkawi, said safety procedures were always shown on tv monitors by ferries at Kuala Perlis and Langkawi before they set sail. "Whoever watches the safety videos will know what to do in case of an emergency," she said. A check with several ticket counters at Kuala Perlis also did not show any cancellations by travellers to Langkawi as a result of the Pulau Tioman ferry tragedy. About 40 passenger ferries ply between Kuala Perlis and Pulau Langkawi between 7.00 a.m. and 7.00 p.m. daily.

In ALOR STAR, the Kedah government asked Mardep to carry out spot checks on passenger ferries operating in the state. Kedah senior executive councilor Datuk Chong Itt Chew told Bernama that he issued the order following Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid wanting immediate action to be taken on the matter.

In Saturday's incident, four people died while three others were reported missing when the Seagull Express ferrying 106 holidaymakers from Mersing caught fire and sank about seven nautical miles from Tioman Island at 12.30pm.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency's northern region enforcement chief Kapt Abdul Rahim Abdullah said that his men would also increase the frequency of checks on ferries plying between Langkawi and the mainland in the aftermath of the Seagull Express tragedy.Meanwhile, Wong Sie Kiong, the operations officer of Ferry Line Ventures Sdn Bhd, one of the ferry companies operating the Langkawi-Kedah route, said his company followed all regulations laid out by Mardep and that all its boats were adequately equipped with the necessary safety equipment like life buoys, life jackets and life rafts. There are some eight companies operating about 40 passenger ferries from

Langkawi and servicing apart from the mainland, Penang and southwestern Thailand as well. Langkawi Tour Boat Operators Association chairman Ku Zaini Kassim said the boats operated by its members also had to conform to the stringent requirements imposed by Mardep before they are allowed to carry passengers.
In PERAK, Syarikat Mesra Feri Sdn Bhd managing director Mohamed Nasir Mohamed Rashid said that the extra services the company was providing between Pangkor Island and Lumut on the mainland in conjunction with Hari Raya had Mardep's clearance and that safety aspects were well looked into. He added that the company had been operating for two years and that all its boats and their personnel had to be re-certified annually by Mardep.

In SEREMBAN, Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said ferry operators in the state should take the tragedy as good lesson that there can be no compromise when it came to the safety of people's lives. "I am deeply saddened by what has happened because not only has innocent lives been lost but it also tarnishes the image of the country as a destination of choice for tourism," he told reporters when met at a Hari Raya open house in Kampung Tanjung, Rantau, near here today.

In KOTA KINABALU, Suria Bumiria Sdn Bhd's executive director Zainie Abdul Aucasa said there had been no cancellations from passengers, especially those commuting between Labuan and Jesselton Point, the route operated by Suria Bumiria here, due to the ferry incident in Mersing. When contacted by Bernama, Zainie said the company had taken vigilant measures to ensure the safety of all passengers using its boats and ferries.

In SIBU, Sibu Express' owner Theng Nam Hoi said that he made it a point to service his two express boats after every 250 hours of operation each. "I have to make sure my boats run in perfect condition for the safety of my passengers," he said when contacted by Bernama today.
In KUCHING, Sarawak Rivers Board controller Muhamad Yakup Kari said that the board would work closely with the Sarawak Marine Department to ensure such a tragedy never happened in the state.
In MERSING, Mardep southern region director Hazman Hussein advised people planning to make ferry trips to first check with the department first on the seaworthiness of the boats they would board.
Checks by Bernama at Mardep's jetty here showed people were rather unfazed by what had happened. Shamsari Lintangga, 26, when approached, said that it was not something that could be predicted but ferry operators should make the extra effort to ensure safety is not compromised.

As for himself, he said he only used one operator for all his trips to the island because he was comfortable with the safety features provided by the company. Abdul Rahman Ismail, 55, who has been travelling between Mersing and Pulau Tioman for years, said he also had a favourite operator because the company paid attention to detail where safety was concerned.

In MUAR, Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman asked Mardep and the Police to take stern action against the owner of the SeaGull Express for allowing it to ferry passengers despite its licence having expired. Speaking to reporters after hosting a Hari Raya open house at his mother's residence here, he said people would quickly lose confidence with ferry operators if such incidents recurred.Also present was Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek
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October 14, 2007 16:14 PM
Ferry Tragedy Victim Manages To Save Son Before Disappearing

Mersing, Oct 14 (Bernama) -- Choong Yoong Kim, 43, one of the victims who is still missing after the "Seagull Express" ferry caught fire seven nautical miles off Tioman Island yesterday, managed to save his youngest son before disappearing under the water. The victim's sister-in-law, Wong Sook Khim, said she managed to see Chong held his son, Chong Wing Yi, 7 on board the ferry before it sank, when told that her brother-in-law was among the three victims which were still missing.

"I did not expect that this holiday, involving 20 people from our six families will result in a tragedy like this because we have been planning to holiday in Tioman for a long time. "Also, another victim, whose fate is still unknown, is my brother, Wong Soong Leng, 37," she told reporters here today. She said other than Wing Yi, Chong still has three other children – Zi Wei, 17, Wing Jian, 16 and Zi Kuan, 10. "Wing Yi, who suffered burns to the face and hands, is undergoing treatment at Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Baharu.

"Although we are in the midst of sorrow, we are hoping that Choong and Wong will be found safe," she said. In the incident which occurred at 12.30pm yesterday, the 20 family

members from Petaling Jaya boarded the ferry for Pulau Tioman before it caught fire and sank. There were also 86 other passengers including three crew members on board. The dead were Hoo Lee Lan, 67, from Kuala Lumpur, Hong See Tiew, 53, Teh Siew Lan, 52, both from Klang, and Tee Moi @ Haw Lee Maoi, 68, from Batu Pahat. The injured, including three women, were Lee Zsi Winn from Johor Baharu, Yong Sait Yoon from Kuala Lumpur, Ngow Lee Ling from Batu Pahat and a boy, Choong Wing Yi from Kuala Lumpur. Meanwhile, two eye-witnesses, crew members Zulkarnain Subahan and Asi Abdul Manaf, who helped in rescuing the passengers, said the fire started very fast. "We threw ropes and life jackets to help the victims," Zulkarnain said. He said the tragedy was the first in his eight years as a crew member of the ferry.

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October 14, 2007 15:55 PM

Ferry Fire: Najib Wants Full Investigation
PEKAN, Oct 14 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wants a full investigation into the ferry fire off Tioman island yesterday which took four lives. Expressing sadness over the incident, the deputy prime minister said an investigation must be conducted to determine the cause of the fire, whether the ferry operator had abided by the safety standards and whether the crew had done everything possible to save the passengers.
The government took a serious view of the incident because it involved public interest and loss of lives, he told reporters at his open house at Dataran Pekan here today.

The ferry, the "Seagull Express", said to be carrying 106 people including the driver and two crew members, caught fire and sank while on its way to Tioman Island from Mersing on the Johor east coast at about 12.30pm. Four holidaymakers died and the injured included three women and a boy who are now warded at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Baharu.
The Tengku Mahkota of Pahang, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, and Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob were among about 30,000 people whoturned out for the open house hosted by Najib and his wife, Datin SeriRosmah Mansor.

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Tioman Ferry Tragedy:
Search and rescue ops for missing passengers resume


The search and rescue (SAR) operation for missing passengers of the ill-fated “Seagull Express” ferry, which caught fire seven nautical miles off Tioman Island yesterday, killing 4 people, resumed this morning. Mersing OCPD DSP Harun Arshad said more than 50 SAR personnel from the maritime and marine agencies were deployed in the operation. “We are still searching for three passengers who are reported missing and their fate is still unknown. “An operations room has also been set up at the Rompin police headquarters to assist us. We are trying our level best to assist them,” he told Bernama here. Harun also said that the four injured survivors who were admitted to the Mersing Hospital had been transferred to the Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Baharu for further treatment. The injured comprised three women — Lee Zsi Winn of Johor Baharu, Yong Sait Yoon of Kuala Lumpur and Ngow Lee Ling of Batu Pahat — and a boy, Choong Wing Yi, from Kuala Lumpur.

It is learnt that about 20 survivors were temporarily housed at Hotel Seri Malaysia in Mersing by the management of Seagull Express while the rest would leave for home. Yesterday, four holidaymakers died and four others were injured when passengers jumped off a ferry, which caught fire and eventually sank while on its way to Tioman Island from Mersing, on the Johor east coast at about 12.30pm. The dead were identified as Hoo Lee Lan, 67, of Kuala Lumpur, Hong See Tiew, 53, Teh Siew Lian, 52, both of Klang, Selangor, and Tee Moi @ Haw Lee Maoi, 68, of Batu Pahat, Johor. Initial investigations by police revealed that engine trouble caused the fire and that the ferry’s licence expired last December last year and was not renewed. Meanwhile, Johor state executive councillor Zainal Abidin Osman, who was briefed on the incident by the maritime department, said he was informed that there were 106 people on board the ferry, including the ferry driver and two workers

Speaking to reporters after the briefing, said there should not be a recurrence of such incident because Mersing’s economy depended largely on the tourist trade. Zainal, who is also Endau state assemblyman, said tour ferry operators should emphasise safety in their service and provide ample life jackets for passengers in case of disasters like this.
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TIOMAN FERRY TRAGEDY: Police says initial investigation suggest engine trouble as cause of fire
Mersing OCPD DSP Harun Arshad said last night initial police investigations suggest engine trouble was the cause of the fire. He had said police were questioning the survivors to find out how and where the fire started as well as to determine the actual number of people who were on board the ill-fated craft. Meanwhile, search and rescue operations for missing passengers resumed at first light this morning. Harun said more than 50 personnel from the maritime and marine agencies were deployed to scour the area.
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TIOMAN FERRY TRAGEDY: We’ll pay for funeral expenses, says ferry operator

Seagull Express and Accommodation Sdn Bhd, operator of the “Seagull Express” ferry that caught fire and sank near Pulau Tokong Bahara, seven nautical miles from Pulau Tioman yesterday, will pay for the funeral expenses of the four holidaymakers killed in the tragedy. The company would make arrangements for burial and bear the funeral costs to ease the burden of the grieving families, said one of the owners, declining to be identified. He said the Mersing-based company, owned by six businessmen — four Chinese and two Malays — had also provided accommodation and food at a hotel here for 20 victims involved in the 12.30pm tragedy when the wooden ferry was on its way to Tioman Island from Mersing on the Johor east coast. […]

= = =Watch the Video Clip (3.17 mins) and the Burning ferry clip

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