KEMAMAN: A Malaysian fishing boat manned by 24 Thai crew members, and laden with 15 tonnes of catch, capsized 12 nautical miles from Kuala Kemaman here yesterday.
All crew members managed to escape in time in the 9.30am incident.
However, the 55-year-old boat owner, from Kampung Tengah, Chukai, estimates his losses at more than RM300,000.
The ‘tekong’, identified only as Aziz, said he and the crew were shocked when they suddenly noticed that the boat was taking on water.
They had to jump into the sea to save themselves as the boat rapidly sank.
"(We) jumped into the sea and grabbed anything to keep ourselves floating," Aziz said, adding that he managed to contact a nearby boat for help, before jumping into the water.
"The rescue boat (which arrived) could only fit 16 people at one time, (so) the rest of the crew had to be moved to another rescue boat," Aziz said, adding that they were sent to the Geliga jetty here.
All crew members, who have valid travel documents and are aged between 30 and 50, had left for their fishing expedition on Sunday, at 3pm.
"The 15 tonnes of Ikan Tongkol in the capsized boat were worth more than RM80,000," Aziz added.