LABUAN, June 11 (Bernama) -- Hundreds of vehicles enroute to the duty-free-island here are currently stranded at the Menumbok Ferry Terminal due to the beyond capacity of roll on-roll off (ro-ro) ferries since the last three days, as the festive holiday season comes to an end.
Ferry operators’ ticketing management told Bernama the tickets for vehicles from Menumbok to Labuan are only available on June 14, leaving behind the stranded vehicles to park their vehicles at the RM5 per day rented parking lots provided by Menumbok villagers.
Despite having told by the ferry operators extra services had been provided they still failed to cope with the mass exodus (of the holidaymakers).
The Kimanis 1 ferry can carry 250 passengers and 50 vehicles; Putrajaya 1,400 passengers and 80 vehicles and the largest ferry, Goodwill Star, over 400 passengers and 100 vehicles per trip.
Labuan Marine Department director Benjamin Bernard Bijion told Bernama a total of 5, 796 vehicles with 14, 662 passengers (excluding those with motorcycles and passengers without tickets) drove out of the Labuan terminal to the mainland for a period of nine days (May 27 to June 5).
He said the department’s enforcement team had carried out safety inspection on each ferry in accordance to its routine checklist.
“They include the full compliance with the relevant international conventions with regards safety of passengers, asset, passengers’ seating condition and arrangement, clear signage of emergency evacuation with the safety items in good condition,” he said.
Among the factors behind the stranded vehicles were due to unavailable tickets back to Labuan and having arrived late to the terminal and missed the ferries.
Some of the passengers who missed the ferries and were stranded at the Menumbok terminal said that was due to the busy roads along the Papar road heading towards Menumbok with traffic starting to pile up caused by the heavy downpour and flooding.
Passenger speed boat operators had been kept busy running more than five trips daily to transport stranded drivers with their passengers.
Meanwhile, traffic volume along the Jalan Rancha-Rancha to Sg Keling here this morning started picking up as many holidaymakers returned to work and sending their school-going children to schools beginning today.
Labuan police chief Supt. Muhamad Farid Ahmad said they expected a heavy flow of traffic this week as most travellers would be returning to Labuan.
He urged those motorists driving towards Menumbok to be cautious on the roads.
“Motorists are encouraged to drive with caution, to drive within the speed limit, to keep a safe following distance and not to overload vehicles this weekend. And also remember to buckle up and look at your mirrors all the time,” Farid said.