ALOR SETAR, Feb 3 — Low tide phenomenon in the Kuala Perlis waters and ferry breakdown leaving 423 passengers stranded for more than seven hours at the Kuah Ferry Terminal, Langkawi yesterday.
Konsortium Ferry Line Ventures Human Resources and Operations manager Captain Baharin Baharom said all the passengers were scheduled to board the Star City 6 Ferry from Langkawi to Kuala Perlis, but the journey could not continue as it suffered a breakdown.
He said the consortium management then provided another ferry, Bahagia 99, to take all passengers to the Kuala Perlis Terminal, however, there was a low tide phenomenon at that time.
“The consortium has discussed and decided that the ferry journey should be delayed to 10 pm.
“If the ferry departed at 3.30 pm, then the ferry would not be able to berth at Kuala Perlis Terminal due to the low tide. There could be an accident at sea that could endanger passengers and crew members on board,” he said when contacted here today.
He was explaining the situation following viral videos and pictures showing overcrowding and chaotic moments between passengers and ferry crew members at the Kuah Ferry Terminal yesterday, due to the delayed trip.
He said the commotion started as soon as his company announced that the ferry trip was delayed to 10 pm, causing a handful of passengers to hurl abusive words to the staff at the terminal and the ferry crew members.
It is understood that the low tide phenomenon in Kuala Perlis waters has caused all Langkawi-Kuala Perlis ferry services from Feb 10 to 13 to be suspended, but people can still go to the resort island by taking a ferry at the Kuala Kedah Terminal, here.
Meanwhile, the Marine Department (JLM) in a statement today said it would conduct further inspections to ensure that all passenger ferries provide the best services.
It said the ferry operator had also given an assurance that all passengers who had purchased return tickets from Langkawi to their respective destinations would be provided seats to the destinations.
“JLM is also discussing additional members of the People’s Volunteer Corps (RELA) to control congestion in the terminal area. Four RELA members will be stationed at the Kuala Perlis Ferry Terminal while the number of RELA personnel to be assigned at the Kuah Ferry Terminal is still being negotiated,” it said.
JLM also said that it was always committed to ensuring that its services and premises were always in the best condition to ensure that passengers enjoyed a comfortable maritime transport system as well as a smooth and safe ferry journey.