Indonesian ferry runs aground at Pulau Tekong
Three patrol boats deployed to assist ferry that had run aground
An Indonesian-flagged ferry, Sri Kandi 99, ran aground on a rock bund at the southern tip of Pulau Tekong late on Monday night.
There were 34 passengers - 33 Malaysians and one Vietnamese - and 11 Indonesian crew members on board.
According to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), the ferry was making a return trip from Panama-registered passenger vessel Aegean Paradise, anchored south of Pengerang in Johor, to Pasir Gudang, Johor, when the incident occurred.
Police Coast Guard (PCG) crew commander, Station Inspector (SI) Lee Kuan Seng, 37, was on duty on patrol boat PT 78, when he noticed the boat in distress on his surveillance system at 11.38pm.
He immediately approached the boat to offer assistance.
SI Lee also alerted MPA and called for reinforcements.
Another two patrol boats were deployed.
Most of the passengers and crew managed to wade to shore, but five passengers - a woman and four men - remained trapped on the boat.
SI Lee said: "The first thing that concerned me was if anyone was trapped in the water. It was so dark and we could not tell. I had to use (night-vision instruments) to check the surface of the water before I could approach the ferry."
He manoeuvred his patrol boat alongside the ferry to allow the trapped passengers to safely cross over to the patrol boat.
SI Syed Abu Bakar, 38, an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), was on the third patrol boat to arrive at the scene.
SI Bakar said: "I could not immediately tell the severity of their injuries and this was challenging as I could only assume the worst until I arrived at the scene and assessed the injured."
Two male passengers suffered minor injuries, including abrasions to the neck and right thigh. But all 45 occupants were accounted for.
SI Bakar tended to the two wounded men.
He said: "Thankfully, what I initially thought was a fractured right leg turned out to be a bruise.
"It was all about prioritising the injuries and responding quickly to make sure everyone was safe."
The passengers were given water and biscuits while they waited on shore.
According to MPA, they were later transferred to another ferry, Camara Samudra, and disembarked at Tanjong Pengelih, Johor, at 5.15am.
SI Lee said: "The way my crew responded to the incident was very admirable. With our training, we knew exactly what to do and focus on saving lives."