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Fishermen call for installation of wave breakers at Sungai Dungun estuary

DUNGUN: The shallowing of the estuary at Sungai Dungun is believed to have contributed to the series of boat tragedies at the river mouth lately.
Fishermen said they want the state government to install wave breakers as a long-term solution to the problem and prevent similar incidents from occurring.
Terengganu Fishermen Association chairman Mat Yassin Mohamed said fishing vessels were often stranded at the estuary during low tides and had to wait for up to 12 hours before they could continue navigating.
“However, anything can happen when vessels get stranded, especially when the sea is choppy.
“All stranded fishing vessels are defenseless when they are constantly hit by strong waves until the vessels are damaged or, in the worst case scenario, capsized.
“Even if fishermen use an emergency boat to get to the mainland, the boat is vulnerable to strong waves which could be dangerous,” he told the New Straits Times yesterday.
The latest tragedy occurred on Wednesday when a fibreglass boat, which was carrying five fishermen, capsized near the Kuala Dungun estuary about 10pm.
One managed to swim to safety but the others remain missing. Only one body has been found so far.
The five fishermen were crew members of a Marang-based fishing vessel that was anchored 400m from the jetty at the time of the incident due to low tides. They were being tranported the jetty in the fibreglass boat when it capsized.
Mat Yassin said the mishap could have been avoided if the vessel could get into the jetty at Kuala Dungun without the need for crew members to be transferred in the fibreglass boat.
“Wave breakers have been installed in many major estuaries such as in Sungai Terengganu, Sungai Marang, Sungai Kemaman and Sungai Besut. I have no idea why there isn’t one in Sungai Dungun.
“As a fisherman, I know the problem very well. It is time to install wave breakers,” he added.

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