Over 500 evacuated following ferry grounding in Kedah, Malaysia

Photo: Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency

Maritime authorities in Malaysia have safely evacuated the 545 passengers and crew of an inter-island ferry after it ran aground in the country’s northwest on Thursday, February 23.

The ferry Ekspres Bahagia 168 was approaching its destination of the city of Kedah after departing Langkawi when it ran aground some 0.8 nautical miles from the Kuala Kedah jetty at around 21:15 local time on Thursday.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) immediately deployed a vessel to render assistance. A tug owned by a local shipping company also sailed to the area to tow the stranded ferry to port.

The ferry was taken under tow and brought to the port by 23:35. The MMEA and other local emergency response agencies facilitated the safe disembarkation of the passengers and crew shortly afterwards.

Noor Azreyanti Ishak, director of the MMEA’s Kuala Kedah office, said the grounding occurred while the area was experiencing low tide.

A passenger told local newspaper New Straits Times that the ferry suffered a temporary blackout that lasted ten minutes just before the grounding occurred.

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