Sunday, March 20, 2011

History: Sarikei shipwreck - Soon Bee II - Gone too soon

Besides the kings of the Rejang, MV Pulau Kidjang and MV Rajah Mas, a smaller ship called MV Soon Bee II, used to ply between Kuching, Sarikei and Sibu. It was owned by Southern Navigation.

Soon Bee II, a 1368-dwt (dead weight tonnage) 56-metre freighter, was built in 1970. It began losing passengers to road and then air transport in the mid 1980s to 2000s. By the day it capsized in bad weather and rough seas on 11th Jan 2011 at about 8.9 nautical miles off Kuala Rajang (at the Rejang River mouth), it was mainly a cargo ship.

Sarikei MV Soon Bee II. Early 1970s

On that fateful day, there were 18 crew members on board en route from Kuching to Sarikei and Sibu. There were eight Malaysians, nine Indians and one Indonesian. A distress signal was sent from the ship when waves of 4 to 5 meter pounded on it and flooded it at about 8.45am.

10 of them went into a raft and another 8 went into a dingy. The 10 were rescued by a tugboat after 3 days. Luckily they survived on some food in the raft.

MV Soon Bee II at Sarikei Rejang Wharf T1 (cargo section). 2004
Source: Peter Kong

The 17 crewmen and skipper of the ship were Imam Fahrudi (skipper), Sadri Ismail (chief officer), Athoaba Baremron Kabui, Tripati Yogesh Kumar, Vivek Kumar Sharma, Wong Kie Ket, Robert Aling anak Kinking, Bong Youn Choi, Jong Qing You, Arun Mathunny Raj, Vijit Hazarika, Manish Kumar Singh, Akhand Pratap Singh, Ravinderdeep Singh, Narotam Banshiyar, Bong Kui Seng and Perates anak Sapor.

The missing eight are Malaysian, Bong Lian Choi, Jong Qing You, Bong Kui Seng and Patraa anak Sipor. The missing Indians are Tripah Yogesh Kumar, Arun Mathunny Raj, Vijik Hazarika and Akhand Pratap Singh.

1 Chinese man was found dead and 7 others were still missing.

Gone too soon.


Sarawakiana@2 said...

Nice short article. Can you get youtube of the horn calling people that coastal boats are leaving the wharf? I tried but did not have the patience...and may be don't know how to find.

Bunty said...

Since 11 Jan 2011, there is no further news of 8 still missing persons. My relative 'Akhand Pratap Singh' is still missing and the owner company Southern Navigation' seems to have vanished from face of the earth. No one from your country ever had tried to give any news even of the ship sinking till date. Please email us at if any one reading this can help us in any way.

Ting said...

Nice article just a small correction Soon Bee II was actually the biggest among the three. The order were Soon Bee follow by Rajah Mas and the smallest was MV Pulau Kidjang

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