KUCHING, Nov 29: The Sarawak Transport Ministry is seeking exemption from the federal Transport Ministry to allow the use of single hull single bottom tanker ships to operate in Sarawak rivers for the transportation of diesel fuel for the community in the coastal area.
Sarawak Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin said following a meeting with the Sarawak Association of Maritime Industries (SAMIN) together with Sarawak and Sabah Shipowners Association (SSSA) last August 19, he was informed that only double hull and double bottom tanker ships were allowed to operate in Malaysian rivers as stipulated in the Malaysia shipping Notice (MSN) 16/2020 issued by the Marine Department on August 5, this year.
In view of this he had applied to the Federal Transport Ministry to seek exemption of single bottom tankers to ply rivers in Sarawak for the transportation of diesel fuel.
“Based on the Marine Department, Sarawak Region registry, there are 119 single hull single bottom tanker ships registered to operate in the rivers and coastal waters of Sarawak.
“Due to the immediate implementation of Malaysia Shipping Notice (MSN) 16/2020, the operation of these single hull single bottom tanker ships are adversely affected.
“For this purpose, I had personally written a letter on November 20 to the Minister for Transport in Putrajaya to seek the exemption on the use of double hull double bottom tanker ships requirement for Sarawak and to allow the single hull single bottom tanker ships to continue to operate in the coastal areas and rivers in the state.
“I trust that our request will receive a prompt and favourable response from the Minister for Transport Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong by allowing the single hull single bottom tanker ships to continue operating in the state to avoid unnecessary interruption of essential supply of fuel especially to the communities residing in the interior and coastal areas of Sarawak,” Lee said in a recent statement.
Lee said the Sarawak Transport Ministry supported the request from SAMIN and SSSA that they should be exempted from double hull double bottom tanker ships requirement.
Lee said tanker ships were being used to transport diesel fuel from adjacent towns to the upper river communities which were mainly use to power generators in the longhouses, clinics, government stations or offices, schools and workers’ camps as well as to run vehicles and machineries owned by plantations and logging companies.
Most of the tanker ships from SAMIN and SSSA members were also deployed to carry edible oil such as palm oil from dedicated river wharves to ports and subsequently to industrial areas for processing purposes.
Lee opined that the directive as stipulated in the Malaysia Shipping Notice or MSN 16/2020 has negative implication on the Sarawak tanker shipowners or operators whose plying limits were confined to the coastal and rivers in the state transporting diesel fuel for the use of the communities residing in the coastal and interior areas of Sarawak. — DayakDaily