Croc seen at East Coast; sailing centre halts activities

Signs have been put up at the beach near the National Sailing Centre advising beachgoers on what to do if they encounter a crocodile.
Signs have been put up at the beach near the National Sailing Centre advising beachgoers on what to do if they encounter a crocodile.PHOTO: ST READER

The National Sailing Centre (NSC) has suspended its water activities after a crocodile was spotted at a construction site at East Coast Park on Monday. It was seen in the water at the site, where a canal is being built.

A spokesman told The Straits Times yesterday that workers at a construction site nearby saw the large reptile on Monday afternoon.

About 120 sailors were affected when activities were halted.

"The Singapore Sailing Federation informed the National Parks Board (NParks) immediately and called off all water training immediately," said the NSC spokesman.

"As the safety of the participants is our priority, on-water activities will be ceased until further notice."

The spokesman said this was the first time a crocodile has been sighted near the sailing centre.

There were two reported sightings of crocodiles near Pasir Ris Park in August.

Mr Chia Seng Jiang, group director of parks at NParks, said the agency was alerted on Monday and Tuesday to sightings of a crocodile in the waters near NSC. "It was likely an estuarine crocodile," he said. "Estuarine crocodiles are known to swim freely in the waters between Singapore and Malaysia."

NParks is working with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority to monitor the sightings, catch and relocate the crocodile.

"We have also advised the operators of establishments along the coast to take the necessary precautions," said Mr Chia. Advisory notices have been put up in the area.

A parent, who declined to be named, said: "All these kids shouldn't be allowed to sail in the area unless that crocodile is relocated."

He added that there is a sailing regatta coming up next weekend involving about 200 schoolchildren at the NSC. "Many of the parents are very worried now. Because this is a National Ranking regatta, they fear they will be forced to put their kids in harm's way."

Yesterday, signs were put up at the beach near the NSC advising beachgoers on what to do if they encounter a crocodile.

The NSC spokesman said it is looking for alternative areas where it can hold events temporarily. "We will continue to observe the area to ensure it is safe before any water activity is conducted," he added.

NParks advises East Coast Park visitors to keep to designated paths and away from water edges. Those who encounter a crocodile should stay calm and back away slowly. They should not approach, provoke, or feed the animal. Those who need help should call the NParks helpline on 1800-471-7300.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 08, 2017, with the headline 'Croc seen at East Coast; sailing centre halts activities'. Print Edition | Subscribe