Romanian on merchant ship dies mysteriously in Sabah waters

AARON LEE

KOTA KINABALU: A Romanian engineer of a merchant ship en route to China died in Sabah waters yesterday.

Mevlit Stelian, 36, passed out in the vessel’s engine room at about 9.30am, and a request was made to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) – via an assistance centre in Kuala Lumpur – for him to be airlifted to hospital.

The ship was about 150 nautical miles from Labuan.

"The (ship’s) officer had initially contacted Labuan, but the hospital there does not have (adequate facilities).

"(Stelian) was then brought here by an Air Force helicopter to get treatment at the Queen Elizabeth hospital," District police chief Assistant Commissioner M. Chandra said in a statement.

Upon arrival at Terminal 2 of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport at 3pm, medical personnel on standby notified police that Stelian had died.

An initial investigation found no signs of injury on the deceased’s body, and a post-mortem will be conducted today.

Police were unable to get statements from his 15 fellow crew members, as they had continued on with their journey to Shekou, China.

Stelian, who was married, was the third engineer on the Berge Bulk Maritime Pte Ltd ship, based in Singapore.

He began working with the company just a week ago.