Lost at sea: Indonesian fisherman found clinging to plastic barrel

Someone once said “just because you’re trash doesn’t mean you can’t do great things. It’s called garbage can, not garbage cannot” and that’s how one plastic barrel floating in the sea managed to save a fisherman’s life.

About 14 hours after being reported missing, a fishing boat crew member was discovered safe and clinging to a blue plastic oil barrel.

The victim, an Indonesian national named Catur, was discovered yesterday at around 10.30 am some 10 nautical miles south of Sibu Island in Mersing, by fishing boat PL 87, which took part in the search and rescue effort, according to Khairul Nizam Misran, director of the Mersing Maritime Zone.

According to him, Catur, 40, who was last seen on the boat wearing just green pants, is thought to have fallen and drifted 9.3 nautical miles from the spot where he went missing at around 8 pm on Sunday.

“The victim was then taken to the Tanjung Sedili Maritime Zone Jetty in Kota Tinggi for treatment and action,” Khairul Nizam said in a statement yesterday.

Before the search and rescue effort was launched at around 11.50 p.m. on Sunday, Kuek Ho Hwa, the 66-year-old owner of a fishing boat, informed Mersing Maritime Zone about the situation.

Thirty people were involved in the search and rescue operation, which was conducted using the Kilat 14 boat from the Mersing Maritime Zone, the RH 32 boat from the Marine Police, and the PTL 21 and PL 87 boats from the Fisheries Department. The search area covered an area of water measuring 86 square nautical miles to the southeast of Sibu Island.

The general public is advised to contact the Johor Maritime operations center’s MERS 999 emergency line at 07-2199401 with any information on events or emergencies at sea.