New patrol craft for Kuching MMEA

Photo: Bernama

PELABUHAN KLANG: One of two new generation patrol craft (NGPC) received by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) today will be located in Kuching, Sarawak.

Minister of Home Affairs Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin, who told that the vessels were for strengthening the agency’s surveillance activities in the Malaysian Maritime Zone (MMZ), said the one for Kuching was ‘Kapal Maritime’ (KM) Kota Kinabalu while KM Tok Bali will be located in Tok Bali, Kelantan.

Hamzah said both vessels would focus on combating encroachments by foreign fishing boats in the national territorial waters, especially in the South China Sea.

“The encroachment of foreign fishing boats is a critical threat to the national fisheries industry. It not only robs the nation of revenue from marine resources but also undermines local fishermen’s income.

“It also harms the marine bio-diversity eco-system in the country’s waters,” he told a news conference after seeing the handover of the two NGPC from Destination Marine Services Sdn Bhd, the local company that built the assets for MMEA, here, today.

Commenting on the characteristics of the NGPC, Hamzah said it is capable of cruising at 24 knots and operating for ten days at sea without re-supplying to carry out enforcement and search and rescue duties.

In addition, the NGPC also has several features including a 30 mm Aselsan cannon from Turkey, Long Range Surveillance Camera for day and night photography and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), a drone capable of conducting long-range air monitoring, as well as being able to comprehensively control oil spills.

Hamzah said KM Kota Kinabalu and KM Tok Bali were among five of the six NGPC costing RM400 million which had been received by MMEA and the final asset of the same type was still under construction.

At the same time, he said MMEA was also expected to receive three Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV), namely, one this year and the rest next year to spruce up surveillance activities in the national waters by the agency.

OPV is capable of carrying out operations at sea for up to 21 days without re-supplying and is capable of carrying out long-range surveillance up to the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) areas and out of reach of smaller ships.

The asset, which is capable of carrying a crew of 70 with 20 passengers at a time, has a speed of 21 knots and is equipped with UAV, helicopter landing site, Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIB), 30 mm Smash Aselsan cannon, fast interceptor craft, treatment room and lock up.

In addition, Hamzah said his ministry was also working to acquire a Multi-Purpose Mission Ship (MPMS) or a mother ship equipped with high-tech equipment capable of carrying six units of fast interceptor craft and UAV.

“With this kind of asset capabilities, I am confident in the near future MMEA will be on par with international maritime agencies.

“As the leading agency in protecting the country’s waters, MMEA will be strengthened from time to time with the acquisition of new assets equipped with various high-tech facilities,” he said. – Bernama