JOHOR BAHRU, May 4 — The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) is seeking help from Indonesia’s Search and Rescue National Agency (BASARNAS) to locate three missing crew members of MT Pablo, which caught fire off Tanjung Sedili last Monday.
Johor Maritime director First Admiral (Maritime) Nurul Hizam Zakaria said a simulation done using the Search and Rescue Optimal Planning System (SAROPS) showed that the three could have drifted into Tanjung Pinang waters in Indonesia.
“The Johor Bahru Maritime Rescue Sub Centre has requested the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Putrajaya to seek the assistance of BASARNAS,” he said in a statement tonight.
He said rescuers had yet to enter the stricken tanker because an assessment showed it was still not safe for the Hazardous Material Special Team (HAZMAT) from the Fire and Rescue Department to begin its search operations.
However, he said the Royal Malaysian Navy’s KD Pendekar as the on-scene coordinator (OSC) and MV Polaris of the Marine Department had carried out water-spraying operations on the hull of the tanker.
Nurul Hizam said a Marine Police patrol boat and two MMEA boats were assisting in the sea search operations covering a sector measuring 393 square nautical miles.
The missing crew members are Indian nationals Satyam Tripathi, 26, and Dinesh Kumar Chauhan, 34, and Ukrainian Sabit Shenderovskyi, 37.
The fire gutted about 50 per cent of the Gabon-registered MT Pablo, and it is not certain whether the three were trapped in the tanker or had been carried away by waves. — Bernama