The area of the search for the missing six victims of a catamaran that capsized off Sabah last Saturday has been narrowed down to 2,990 sq nautical miles today compared to 3,900 sq nautical miles yesterday.
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency Kota Kinabalu director First Admiral (Maritime) Adam Aziz said this was to give more focus on areas in the south and west based on the wind direction and ocean current.
He said the area for today’s search, which entered its seventh day, included 750 sq nautical miles of waters off Miri, Sarawak, and 590 sq nautical miles of waters off Brunei Darussalam.
“The search area in waters off Sabah and Labuan covers 1,650 sq nautical miles, including Permatang Semarang,” he told reporters at a briefing at the MMEA operations centre in Likas.
Adam said the search by the vessels was conducted round-the-clock, while the aircraft left to the search area at 6am.
Adam said according to the Malaysian Meteorological Department’s forecast, the weather was fine in the morning with winds of 40kph to 50kph and waves as high as 3.5 metres.
“However, it is expected to rain in the evening with higher waves and strong winds,” he added.
Adam said 350 personnel were involved in the search operation which involved 21 assets, namely six ships, eight boats and seven aircraft, had been deployed to conduct the search.
He said Brunei would continue to confine its search to that country’s waters.
The catamaran, with the 28 Chinese tourists and three crew, capsized at about 10am last Saturday after being hit by strong winds and high waves, an hour after having left the Tanjung Aru jetty for Pulau Mengalum, 56km north-west of Kota Kinabalu.
Twenty of the tourists and two crew were rescued and three tourists were found dead, leaving five tourists and a crew missing.