KUALA LUMPUR: Transport Minister Anthony Loke dismissed claims that the government neglected the search and rescue (SAR) operation to locate a Malaysian-registered cargo ship, MV Dai Cat 06, which was reported missing since January.

He said the country's security agencies are working hard to locate the missing vessel.

"There is no issue regarding cost in the SAR operation (as) this is human life. We don't look at the cost.

"However, the ship was reported missing in Indonesian waters, so search and rescue operations are under Indonesian authorities," he said in response to a supplementary question from Datuk Seri Madius Tangau (PH-Tuaran) about the government's efforts to locate the missing ship during the question and answer session in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Loke said he had instructed the Marine Department to conduct serious monitoring and ensure that the SAR mission to locate the ship will continue with the Indonesian authorities.

"Wisma Putra has been in contact with the authorities in Indonesia. Furthermore, in terms of SAR operation, it is under the purview of MMEA (Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency), while the Marine Department is always in contact and working with MMEA to ensure that the operations continue," he said.

Loke added that based on ship movement monitored by the Marine Department through the Automatic Identification System (AIS), MV Dai Cat 06 was recorded to be sailing out of Lumut on Dec 23, 2022, and anchored in the waters of Sungai Besar on Dec 26 to 28, 2022 for main engine and anchor system maintenance.

The vessel was also detected to have switched off the AIS system on Dec 25 and on Dec 29 to 30, last year.

He said that the last position of the ship detected through AIS monitoring was on Jan 1, which was in sector 9 of the Traffic Separation Scheme around Pulau Mungging, Johor.

"However, the last position received through the Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacon (EPIRB) from MMEA, the ship was in Indonesian waters," he said.

On Jan 9, a cargo ship carrying pipes worth RM726,205 along with five crew members was believed to have disappeared in Indonesian waters and a report regarding the incident was lodged by the ship's agent on the same day.