Langkawi ferry fire: MOT investigating transport company for its second-time mishap

Transport Minister Anthony Loke speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya, 27 February 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Transport Minister Anthony Loke speaks during a press conference in Putrajaya, 27 February 2019. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 27 — The Ministry of Transport (MOT) is investigating a Kedah-based ferry company after one of its ferries caught fire while transporting passengers in Langkawi on Monday.

In a press conference here today, minister Anthony Loke said this was the second untoward incident involving ferries from the same company, whereby in the first case, passengers were left stranded in the middle of the ocean.

“In the post-Cabinet meeting earlier, we did discuss this matter. We are seriously looking at the incident which happened in Langkawi.

‘We will definitely investigate this company because this is the second incident. A few months ago, a ferry from the same company was also stranded in the middle of the sea, though this is the first time a fire incident happened.

“However, we view the safety level in this company seriously and an audit and investigations are being carried out and we are waiting for the report of the investigation before any action can be taken,” Loke added.

Loke said his ministry will need two weeks for investigations to be completed.

Firemen are seen putting out the fire that erupted on board a Kuala Perlis-bound ferry in Langkawi February 25, 2019. — Bernama pic
Firemen are seen putting out the fire that erupted on board a Kuala Perlis-bound ferry in Langkawi February 25, 2019. — Bernama pic

National news agency Bernama yesterday reported that all of Dragon Star Shipping Sdn Bhd’s passenger ferry services have been suspended immediately after the ferry caught fire.

It quoted Kedah Agriculture and Agro-Based, Transport and Primary Industry Committee chairman Azman Nasrudin saying that this was to enable the Marine Department to conduct a detailed investigation to determine the actual cause of the fire.

“This is the second time the company’s operations have been suspended. The forensic investigation will take about three to four days, and we will see if the company followed the fixed standard operating procedure (SOP),” he was quoted saying.

Bernama reported that Dragon Star was first suspended for a month in October last year, after one of its ferries was stranded for eight hours in the middle of the sea while on its way to Langkawi from Kuala Kedah.

It reported that the latest incident happened around 2.30pm on Monday, involving 52 passengers, while travelling from Kuah to Kuala Perlis.

The incident reportedly occurred about 15 minutes after the ferry departed from the Kuah jetty, and the fire was reported to have originated in the engine room.