PUTRAJAYA - Almost 1,800 fishing vessels in the South China Sea and Straits of Malacca have been told to assist in the search and rescue efforts of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said 1,788 fishing vessels from five states, namely Kelantan, Terengganu, Perlis, Perak and Penang, have been told to report sightings of unusual objects to the Ministry to assist in the search of the aircraft.
"After discussing with (Acting Transport Minister) Datuk Seri Hishamuddin, we felt that this is one of the way that our Ministry can assist in search efforts.
"Although we have our police and army who are professionals, these fishermen are very experienced at sea and they know the sea very well," he said adding that each vessel had an average of 10 crew members that would make a total of 17,000 to 20,000 fisherman helping rescue efforts.
"The fisherman have already been told on Sunday to help the effort," he told reporters at the Everly Putrajaya hotel, where families of passengers on MH370 are placed.
said that his Indonesian counterpart had also been contacted while the Ministry was in the midst of contacting Thai and Vietnamese authorities.
"Our Indonesian counterpart has agreed to assist us. They are organising fishermen from areas such as Acheh and Medan to help us. We are also contacting the Thai and Vietnamese side," added Ismail Sabri.