Jabatan Laut Sarawak (Marine Department)
When it was first formed in the early years of the Brooke administration, the Marine Department of Sarawak was located at the Public Office in front of the present Pengkalan Batu. It was called the Shipping Office and for many years carried out its functions as the maritime authority. It was renamed the Marine Department of Sarawak in 1922.
The Marine Department of Sarawak is a federal agency made up of regional and divisional offices sited in several divisions in the state. Its headquarter in Kuching (western region) is located in Bintawa while its other two regional offices - central region and eastern region have offices in Sibu. The three divisional offices are located in Sarikei, Bintulu and Limbang respectively.
One of its main functions is to secure the safety of sailing ships and other navigational activities in the Sarawak waters. It is also responsible to monitor the security and preserve the environment of the surrounding maritime area.
The department also manages training, process and award maritime certifications as as takes care of the general welfare of seamen.
To transform Malaysia into a maritime nation of international repute by 2020
Another important function is to provide general maritime services such as search and rescue , ship survey, boat licensing, ship registration, port departure, seamen services, deck and Engine Proficien-cy Examination as well as hydrographic survey and products.
The Marine Department of Sarawak comprises five main sections: General Administration, Industry Control, Seamen and Port Welfare, Navigational Safety and Hydrography Service.
Each of the five sections is headed by an assistant Director who in turn reports to the Director. The current Director of the Department is Encik Muhammad Razif Ahmad. There are 425 employees in the department, still short of 129 positions to be filled throughout Sarawak.
Under the 8MP, an allocation of RM159 million has been approved to carry out various activities, a major of which is reserved for the development of infrastructures and maritime facilities. Among the projects planned within the 2001 - 2005 period are the building of new offices and staff quarters, purchases of new boats and ships, wreckage clearing facility and the promotion of Information Technology in the Department.
Clearing of wreckage and oil spills
Sarawak is home to 55 rivers with a total river coastline of 5000km. Out of this number, 32 rivers with a total coastline of 3500km are navigable. Hundreds of boat and ships ply the routes everyday. This busy traffic is bound to cause accidents and with it the problems of unsightly wreckage, oil spills and other river pollution.
And where lives are concerned, the business of search and rescue becomes crucial. This is where the department comes in, helping the state and the concerned public preserve the environment and save lives.
Only unique to Sarawak, the hydrographic service include hydrography survey , preparing tide schedules and nautical charts to be distributed to both the public and the shipping community.
Encik Muhammad Razif Ahmad
The new Search & Rescue Centre at Muara Tebas, Kuching
Taking care of the safety and the environment of Sarawak waters