Kedah urges ministry to enhance sailing SOP of ferries
Last Update: 19/08/2019
ALOR SETAR, Aug 19 (Bernama) -- The Kedah state government has urged the Ministry of Transport to enhance the standard operating procedure (SOP) in relation to ferry service operations in the country, especially during bad weather.
State Agriculture and Agro-based Industries, Transport and Human Development Committee chairman Azman Nasrudin said at present the Malaysian Marine Department did not have the authority to prevent any ferry from sailing during bad weather, but could only give advice.
“Before any ferry sails, the Marine Department will provide information on the weather conditions, obtained from the Malaysian Meteorological Department, to the relevant ferry company, however, the authority to embark the sail was with the captain of the ferry while the Marine Department has no authority to stop it,” he told a press conference here today.
He was responding on an incident involving a passenger ferry, My Ferry, owned by the JMV Ferry Services Sdn Bhd, which suffered damages to its passenger seats due to a strong wave during the thunderstorm on August 10.
The ferry, carrying 217 passengers from the Kuala Kedah jetty here to Langkawi Island, suffered damage at 5.38pm only after taking off about 15 minutes later. The ferry arrived safely at the Kuah jetty in Langkawi at 7.40pm without any casualty.
Azman said the ferry captain had not notified the incident to the Kuah or Marine Department's Vessel Traffic Management and Information System (VTMIS) until it was transmitted by the ferry passengers.
“The state government took this matter seriously, the information we received said there were seats broken, that means the sea condition was turbulent and the waves could be as high as three to four meters. Regardless, I am thankful that no accident happened,” he said.
He said the state government will write a letter to propose to enhance the ferry sailing SOP as soon as possible to the Ministry of Transport, to be applied to not only ferries to Langkawi, but to all passenger ferry services in the country.
“I will also meet with all the ferry service companies here to discuss this problem and on matters regarding unsuitable sailing conditions for safety reasons,” he said.
At the same press conference, Northern Territory Marine Department principal assistant director Ghazali Ahmad said that under the Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952, the Marine Department has the authority to prevent a ferry from sailing based on the physical aspect of its safety but could not do so due to weather conditions.