Fury As Old Pulau Pinang Ferry Found Half Sunk
The Pulau Pinang ferry which was found half-sunk at the Bagan Dalam slipway in Butterworth. The ferry had been retired before the old ferry service was terminated on Dec 31. (FMT readers pic)GEORGE TOWN: A heritage activist today said the finding of an old Penang ferry left nearly submerged off a river in Butterworth was heartbreaking as it was the country’s most cherished public transport icon to date.
Khoo Salma Nasution of Penang Heritage Trust said the vessel, Pulau Pinang, ought to be salvaged immediately before more damage was done.
Earlier this evening, the 19-year-old vessel was found tipping over at the Bagan Dalam slipway, off the Perai River where it was moored. Netizens posted pictures of the half-sunk ferry on social media.
The ferry Pulau Pinang had been retired before the vehicular-cum-passenger ferry service was closed earlier this year to make way for fast boats.
Salma told FMT: “What we have seen is heartbreaking and an assault to one of Penang’s beloved icons and heritage. The ferry should have been guarded securely.
“The sinking would not have happened overnight. The barge would have sunk little by little over the days. It only goes to show that no one was watching.”
She called on the authorities to reveal where the last surviving seven ferry boats have gone, with details of where they have gone, how much they were sold for and to whom.
Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Daniel Gooi said the state has called for one of the old ferries to be kept in service because of the vessels’ iconic status, but the proposal had fallen on deaf ears.
PPC chairman Tan Teik Cheng on board the flooded Pulau Pinang ferry today.“It hurts to see a ferry that was the icon of a ferry service of 126 years to be found half-sunk,” he said in a statement. The port and ferry service is regulated by the federal government and run by a licensed private company.
In a statement, the Penang Port Commission said the Pulau Pinang ferry was found with “several holes” which has caused water to enter its lower deck and fill up its engine room entirely.
PPC chairman Tan Teik Cheng said the excess water has been pumped out so that repair works can be carried out. He said the ferry was hitched at the slipway while waiting for bids from interested parties to run the vessel as a museum. - FMT
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