KOTA TINGGI, Dec 15 — The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has launched a search-and-rescue (SAR) operation after a boat carrying 60 undocumented migrants was believed to have capsized due to bad weather at Tanjung Balau here today.
The agency said at least 10 have been found dead while another 21 have been rescued. A further 29 remain unaccounted for from their boat that reportedly ran into difficulties in the waters off Tanjung Balau at 4.30am.
Johor MMEA director First Maritime Admiral Nurul Hizam Zakaria said the agency has activated the Ops Carilamat SAR operation at 8.50am after receiving information.
He said MMEA immediately mobilised several of its assets for the operation.
“The MMEA despatched an AW 139 Agusta aircraft, the KM Tegas patrol boat and Petir 50 boat to track down and locate the remaining victims involved,” said Nurul Hizam in a statement issued here today.
At time of press, it could not be determined if the boat had been entering or leaving Malaysian waters.
Earlier, Nurul Hizam said the MMEA was informed of the matter after the Johor Baru Maritime Rescue Sub Center (MRSC) received an incident report from the Penawar Fire and Rescue Department which received information from the Tanjung Sepang Tactical Headquarters.
“The information was on the damaged boat’s discovery as well as several undocumented migrants who were saved in Tanjung Balau.
“Based on preliminary information, an estimated 60 undocumented migrants were in the boat.
“A total of 21 people were reported to be safe and the remains of 10 victims were found by the Malaysian Army personnel,” he said, adding that the search is on for the remaining 29 victims who were unaccounted for.