BINTULU: Local fishing communities have been urged to comply with the restricted zones laws and safety precautions when venturing out to sea.
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Bintulu zone director Capt Shahref Steve Mac Queen Abdullah made the call during a dialogue with the local fishing community at Kampung Jepak, yesterday.
He added that by adhereing to the restricted zones guidelines near oil rigs fishermen and fishing boat operators also contribute to the safety of the off shore workers.
MMEA and the other relevant agencies will be conducting another dialogue with the fishing boat operators here regarding the issue of encroachment .
Shahref believed that all issues could be solved if the parties concerned are willing to sit down together and discuss it openly.
During the dialogue Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd (Sarawak Gas) chief security officer Onn Itam brought up the issue of fishermen encroaching restricted zones near oil rigs in his safety briefing.
He explained about 500 metres around the oil rigs are restricted zones.
Although fihsermen claimed these zones are rich fishing grounds these areas as claimed by the fishermen, Onn stressed fishing there would endanger fishermen themselves and workers on the oil rigs.
“It would be a major disaster if there is explosion, that is beyond our imagination. So please don’t get near to the oil rigs to fish, Petronas is not cruel to the fishing community but it is for everyone’s safety.”
Meanwhile, Shahref said the event was part of MMEA’s corporate social responsibility (CSR)’ Sahabat Maritime’ programme.
“It aimed at improving public awareness especially among the local maritime communities, such as fishermen, anglers, boat operators and those staying closer to the sea on the importance of safety while at sea,” he said.
Shahref also reminded the fishing communities to always emphasise on safety while in the river or sea by wearing life jackets.
“Although I understand, the fishermen were uncomfortable wearing life jackets,remember it is for your own safety as we don’t know when and how the accident can happen,” he cautioned.
During the function, Bintulu Fishermen Association (PNK) and MMEA Bintulu also jointly handed over donations to 27 less fortunate people from the village (20 contributed by PNK and seven contributed by MMEA Bintulu) and awarded three fishermen, Zukrie Ismail, Zamri Ismail and Abidin Mohd Nor, certificates of appreciation for helping the agency in the Search and Rescue (SAR) operation last year.
They took part in a SAR operations which rescued a missing fisherman.
Also present were MMEA Bintulu (Operations) deputy director Commander Maritime Effendy Mohamed Fadil, Fisheries Development Authority Region 3 Miri deputy officer Awangku Mansor Pangeran Zainudin, Bintulu Fishermen Association chairman Jumat Brahim and Penghulu Drahman Kawi.