Jail for skipper in Sabah boat sinking

KOTA KINABALU • The 25-year-old skipper of the small boat that sank last Saturday in Sabah has been jailed six months for being negligent.

Sharezza Salian, who refused to be represented by a lawyer, admitted to carrying 28 passengers on the catamaran - 12 more than permitted.

Boat owner Leong Vin Jee, 44, who did not make a plea yesterday, has been released on bail and will appear in court again tomorrow.

He needed a translator to help him understand the proceedings.

In the incident, which took place on the first day of Chinese New Year, the catamaran was carrying 28 Chinese tourists from a jetty in Kota Kinabalu to Pulau Mengalum, a dive site, when it sank.

Twenty of the tourists were plucked out of the sea after 32 hours, while three died.

The skipper and one crewman were also saved, but another crewman remains missing.

Four of the tourists are still missing as well, and the body of a woman, believed to be a victim, was found yesterday.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency director for Kota Kinabalu, First Admiral Adam Aziz, said that visual identification of the female victim could be difficult due to the condition of the body.

"We will ask the families to try and identify the victim. If they are not able to, a DNA test will be conducted," he told reporters.

He added: "We will try our best to get all of the victims back and there is no timeframe as to when we will call off the search as yet."

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 05, 2017, with the headline 'Jail for skipper in Sabah boat sinking'. Print Edition | Subscribe