On the 30th of January a group of 9 divers and 4 dive professionals were right on the end of their dive at Turtle House of the coast of Pulua Gaya, Malaysia. During there safety stop the group was rocked by an nearby underwater explosion. As they surfaced the perpetrators were easily spotted.
Two men on a “pump-boat” were spotted performing explosion fishing within the marine park of Sabah. The dive boat followed the men for 15 minutes while the Sabah park authorities were informed. Dead fish could be see floating on the surface as the dive boat closed in on the men. Eventually the fishermen set course to the nearby village were police awaited their arrival and impounded the boat.
All the divers were lucky enough to tell the tell without any injury. ‘We were lucky enough that none of our eardrums bursted or that we passed out underwater, the explosion was very loud’ dive instructor Cindy Valton George told the local press.
As many as 80 such explosions have been counted by dive professionals in the past seven months. George said they are an regular occurrence and are always reported to the park authorities. Despite the site being a marine park and there are regular patrols nothing additional has been done to date.