Capt Mohd Khairol Anuar Saad

BINTULU (July 5): The Maritime Rescue Sub Centre has called off the search and rescue (SAR) operation for a missing crewman of a tanker ship, which capsized in Samalaju waters.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency Bintulu zone director Capt Mohd Khairol Anuar Saad said the decision to end the operation at 5pm yesterday was made after no new leads were found during the three-day operation.

“The total search area during the three days was 695.85 square nautical miles covering the waters of Samalaju, Beting Nyalau, and around the oil rig and also assisted by the air search by the Bomba Air Unit did not find any clues such as oil spots and floating items belonging to Banga 2 in the search sector,” he said in a statement last night.

Firefighters search a beach for clues.

The victim, an Indian national identified as Himanshu Kumar, had gone missing on July 1 at 40.2 nautical miles north west of Bintulu.

Three other survivors said Himanshu, who was last seen wearing a black and white shirt and dark coloured trousers, had a life jacket on before he disappeared.

Various government assets were mobilised during the operation – MI171 helicopter (Bomba Air Unit), KM Setia (Maritime Malaysia), PSC 56 and PGR 32 boats (Marine Police), and beach search boat (Fire and Rescue Department) – along with assets from Samalaju Port, Petronas, and Shell Bintulu.

A search of the coastal area was also conducted by members at the search forward base located at Samalaju Port.

Mohd Khairol thanked all SAR partners, including Samalaju Port’s management, for their cooperation during the operation.