KOTA KINABALU (Bernama) – KD Ganas commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Che Mohd Fakhrul Azizi Che Nah described the task of towing back the crew members of CB204 gunboat to the naval base yesterday as the most challenging mission ever undertaken since joining the navy eight years ago.
Che Mohd Fakhrul Azizi said the 21-hour trip to tug the gunboat and its crew to safety was a major success.
“I found the gunboat’s location by detecting the longitude and latitude coordinates before heading in the direction.
“Thank God, with the cooperation from several operation centres and ships in the area, we managed to trace the signal from CB204. We located the position and found the boat,” he told reporters at the Sepanggar naval base.
The CB204 gunboat, which was found on Monday after being reported missing for more than 30 hours off the waters of Manglum, Sabah, arrived at the naval base at 12.50pm.
He said rough seas with waves as high as three to four metres and communication disruptions were the challenges which complicated the tugging operation.
“KD Ganas was in the operation area on the incident day and we rushed to the sector as ordered to start searching and were speeding at six knots,” he said.
With almost a year’s experience in handling naval assets, Che Mohd Fakhrul Azizi was grateful for the fair weather and cooperation of KD Ganas crew during the tugging exercise.
Two CB204 crew, Charles Cristopher and Steven Hudson were reported sick and were flown to the Kota Kinabalu naval base by a Super Lynx helicopter at about 6.13pm on Tuesday.
Charles was down with gastric while Steven got electrocuted and both were admitted into the Kota Kinabalu Regional Armed Forces Hospital here.