KOTA KINABALU, Jan 29 — The authorities will check to see whether the catamaran carrying 31 people, including 28 tourists from China, is registered in Sabah or elsewhere.
Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Pang Yuk Ming said the Sabah government had ruled that catamarans could carry a maximum of 12 people, including the crew and skipper.
“A catamaran has a capacity of more than 30 passengers. However, the Sabah government limits the number of passengers for tourism purposes,” he told reporters at the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), Sabah and Labuan Headquarters here, today. Catamarans registered outside Sabah can carry more than 30 passengers.
Pang said Jesselton Point and not Tanjung Aru Jetty, is the normal jetty used by boats to reach tourist resorts on islands on the west coast of Sabah.
The operator’s decision to switch to Tanjung Aru Jetty could be due to high passenger traffic at Jessselton Point due to the Chinese New Year celebration.
Meanwhile, China’s Consul General in Sabah, Chen Peijie said that the country’s leadership took serious view of the incident which received wide coverage in China.
The diplomat said family members in China can contact China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs at 12308 for more information on their family members.
The catamaran sank en route from Tanjung Aru Jetty to Pulau Mengalum, about 56 km northwest of Kota Kinabalu yesterday.
The MMEA said the catamaran carrying 31 people, including 28 tourists from China, left Tanjung Aru Jetty at 9am. — Bernama