Catamaran tragedy: Ministry revokes licences of 3 tour operators

OLIVIA MIWIL



KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Tourism and Culture Ministry has revoked the licences of three tour operators involved in the Jan 28 catamaran boat tragedy.


Its state director Awang Ahmad Zaki Abu Bakar said in a statement today that the ministry was taking the tragedy, which claimed the lives of four Chinese nationals, very seriously.


In the Jan 28 incident, four out of 28 Chinese tourists were killed when the catamaran boat sprang a leak and sank while enroute to Mengalum island. Three crew members were on duty that day.


Four tourists and a crew member are still missing.


"We are not bringing any case to court for now since the offenders have already been charged in court.


"Although the issuance of the tour boat licences is not under our jurisdiction, the ministry will work closely with all tour boat operators as safety of tourists visiting Sabah is of highest concern and priority," he added.


Ahmad Zaki said besides revoking licences, the ministry would also take stern action by compounding operators if they flout the law.


Previously, he said the ministry had fined operators for using non-designated tour vehicles under the Tourism Act 1992 and managed to reduce illegal activities significantly.


Under the Act, the maximum penalty is RM50,000.