Pumpboats ban stays for now; proposal for flares
Published on: Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the ban on the use of pumpboats in Sabah waters, especially by foreigners, remains in force.The ban was enforced in April 2016 in an effort to tighten security in the Esszone following a spate of kidnappings.

Shafie also called for the stepping up of security measures in the state.

He said security must be at the best possible level despite the various restrictions, such as limited manpower and finance.

Meanwhile, the authorities will take a different approach in battling sea crimes by suggesting that every vessel be equipped with para flares.

Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) Commander Datuk Hazani Ghazali said although this option is still in the midst of discussion, the force believes it would be able to contribute in countering criminals at sea.

In the event of kidnapping or pirate attacks, he said the crew members will be able to notify the authorities, especially in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) who will get to respond and take action.

"Criminals will usually damage the communication system of the vessel to avoid their targets from calling for help.

"So at least with the para flares, the operators or crew will be able to let out a distressed signal that could reach up to two kilometres range, capable of notifying the authorities," Hazani said after a briefing of security situation at the State Legislative building, here on Tuesday.

He also said that proposal will have been highlighted to the State Government in making every boats or fish trawlers equipped with an Automatic Identification System (AIS) mandatory.

There are a lot of boats that are operating in Sabah waters that have not equip their vessels with the system which is not helping with the authorities in their mission to tackle sea crimes, he added.

Relating to the ban on pump boats, Hazani said with the consideration of uplifting the ban on this small powered sea transport, there will be a mechanism to be implemented.

He said among the suggestions that have been tabled are colouring the boats with specific colour to determine their district zoning and take necessary action towards those that are not according to the regulations.

These pump boats will also need to undergo re-registration to ensure that the owner and operator is the same person which will make it easier for authorities to identify illegal immigrant during inspection.

"We do not want to ban these pump boats because we know they are not able to afford other vessels. We do not want to stop their source of income. We just want to stop foreign pump boats from entering the State waters," he added.

Hazani said if there are illegal immigrants detected entering the waters, then authorities will take action against them and have their boats confiscated and destroyed.

"But if illegal immigrants are caught using local registered pump boats, then the owner of that certain pump boat will be revoked," he said.

For posts in the Esszone, he said they will be looking into several locations to determine any weak points where relocation will be carried out or enforcement to ensure that any loop holes will be eradicated, removing any slightest chance of sea crime. - Jeremy S Zabala

Photo Source: Wikipedia


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