LAHAD DATU: The presence of 32 sailors from various countries along with 12 sailing yachts in the waters of the east coast of Sabah proves the area is secure, Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) commander DCP Victor Sanjos said.
“The east coast of Sabah is not just beautiful but also very safe with security forces ensuring its safety.
“We hope that the participants (sailors) will inform their friends about the safety and beauty of these waters so that many more will come over and sail to experience its beauty,” he said after the flagoff of the Sail Malaysia Passage to the East event here today, adding that this depicted the truth about the state’s tourism sector.
William Hirsch, a sailor from the United States (US), one of the 32 participants from the United Kingdom, the US, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, France and Australia, said the group has enjoyed a warm welcome from locals since arriving in Lahad Datu on Aug 10 for the sailing event that started in Kudat on July 26 and will end in Tawau on Aug 26.
“Coming down from Kudat to here (Lahad Datu) I can tell you we visit cities all along the way walking down by the streets, every Malaysians given us a smile, saying hello, meeting people who don’t know who I am greeting me with ‘Welcome to Malaysia’…It is one of the most friendly and warming experiences I had travelled anywhere in the world,” Hirsch said, adding that the communication gap did not stop Malaysians from welcoming them.
The 34-year US police veteran, who is popularly known as Captain Build, commended the local security forces here for offering the best protection to all sailors.
“I can tell you from my experience that these guys in ESSCom were doing their jobs, we have a system in our boat called AIS that can enable them to track us where we are and they know where were we every minute.
“Quite a while (back), we were spread out maybe about five or ten miles and there were boats in the front and behind us and somebody wandered off and they were on top of it.
“At one point when we almost wandered across the border of the Philippines and they were (ESSCom) on top of it and corrected us, so their attention to detail, attention to us was perfect. I mean there would be not a chance anybody could give us a problem here, it is just perfect,” he added.
Fellow countryman, Steve Kane expressed his joy at being able to be part of what he described as an amazing sailing programme.
“I’ve been lucky enough to be in this trip, I lived in Las Vegas, Nevada in the US. Las Vegas is called the entertainment capital of the world, but these beaches in Sabah are better in every way.
“The scenery, weather the wildlife and most of all the people, everything here is beyond expectations and I hope the world gets to learn about Sabah quickly and lots of folks coming here and enjoy what they have,” he said. – Bernama