Anglers: Worst storm to hit coast

The Star, 7 Oct 2014

KOTA KINABALU: Anglers claim that the weekend storm that hit Sabah’s west coast where the Royal Malaysian Navy CB204 combat vessel went missing was the worst in the area so far.

About 10 hobby fishermen, including Sabah Anglers Association president Datuk Wilfred Lingham, were near Pulau Mengalum at about the same time when the vessel lost contact with its base.

“This was the severest storm I have experienced in my 40 years of fishing,” said Lingham, the former state Tourism, Culture and Environment Ministry permanent secretary.

He said winds blew to 60kph and the waves were more than three metres high.

Their 24m vessel was tossed around so much that anglers had to head to a spot closer to the island and anchor there, he said.

“We couldn’t even stand on the deck,” Lingham said, adding that the fishermen decided to stay in their cabins until the storm subsided.

He said they set out from Kota Kinabalu at about 10am on Friday and arrived at their fishing spot about 14 nautical miles from the island seven hours later.

Lingham said they started fishing amid the choppy seas and continued to remain in the area until early Saturday afternoon.

“By then the sea was getting really rough and we decided to move closer to the island, about 10 nautical miles from shore and cast anchor,” he said.

The full force of the storm hit them on Saturday night and on Sunday morning.

“It was so bad that water started to enter our boat,” Lingham said, adding that they called off their fishing and returned here early yesterday.

Meteorological Department director Abdul Malik Tussin said rough sea conditions that included south-southwesterly winds packing speeds of up to 50kph and waves of up to 3.5m would persist off Sabah’s west coast until tomorrow.

“This is a normal pattern during the inter-monsoons but this year the winds were stronger.”