Pacific Hawk’s seafarers take initiative to collect garbage at littered beach in Pulau Papan, Labuan, Malaysia

"Though it was hot and tiring, we felt happy to see the clean beach after our clean-up exercise. We hope that local children and families who saw us can also emulate our actions and help do their part to keep Mother Earth clean and protect the environment."

- Chief Officer, Irwan Bin Borhan

After completing the FRC launch/MOB Drill on board the Pacific Hawk on 9 September, we continued to do further tests for the FRC’s engine performance in the Labuan Anchorage. From the anchorage, we
could see Pulau Papan (Papan Island) which is just adjacent to where we were. I noticed that the beach area was littered with many plastic bottles and garbage.

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A whole bag filled with litter after the beach clean-up exercise.

I called Master Teoh Chee Eng using the walkie-talkie to inform him about my observation and sought his permission to go to the island after our work duties to do a cleanup of the beach to help remove the plastic bottles and debris. Master Teoh promptly gave the approval and together with my fellow FRC crew, Motorman Abdul Halim Bin Lamdin, A/B Azamain Bin Mohd. Zain, we approached the island jetty for landing.

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Bags filled with litter found at the beach.

We had a spare garbage bag on board the FRC which we were able to use to collect the plastic bottles and litter. Pulau Papan is one of the six islands in Labuan Wilayah Persekutuan and the island is often regarded as one of the most beautifully developed islands in Malaysia. We were told that it used to be a popular tourist attraction but has been deserted for some time due to some management issues but the island is still visited by locals.

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Our happy crew of Pacific Hawk involved in the beach clean-up exercise. (From left to right) MTM Abdul Halim Bin Lamdin, A/B Azamain Bin Mohd. Zain and C/O Irwan Bin Borhan.

As we walked along the beach, we picked up all the garbage and plastic bottles that we could see. Along the way, we also spotted the carcass of a poor turtle which probably ingested some plastic and died there.

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Carcass of a turtle; suspected dead from injesting plastic items in the sea.

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SPO crew members picking up trash and plastic items using the garbage bag they brought.

Two personnel guards working on the island spotted us and approached us to thank us for helping to clean the beach. After spending about one and a half hours, we filled our garbage bag with plastic bottles and litter and headed back to our FRC and brought the garbage bag back to the vessel for proper disposal. Though it was hot and tiring, we felt happy to see the clean beach after our clean-up exercise. We hope that local children and families who saw us can also emulate our actions and help do their part to keep Mother Earth clean and protect the environment.