Teh (left) hands over a sea telescope to Zin to symbolise the handing over of duties as Zubil (centre) looks on.

KUCHING: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency in Sarawak will receive one of three 83-metre long offshore patrol vessels early next year.

MMEA director-general, Maritime Admiral Datuk Mohd Zubil Mat Som said the three vessels, worth RM700 million, were currently under construction before being handed over to Sarawak, Sabah and Pahang.

He revealed that Sarawak was scheduled to be the first recipient of the assets which were expected to be launched at the port of Klang, Selangor in November this year.

“These vessels can last about 30 days at sea without the need to re-supply oil and food compared to current vessels that can only last for 12 days at sea.

“We hope that with such big vessels, issues of intrusions by foreign fishing boats will be easily dealt with,” he told a press conference at the Tun Abang Salahuddin Maritime Complex (Komtas) at Muara Tebas.

Zubil added that to further strengthen the agency’s assets, four medium-sized helicopters (medium lifts) were in the process of procurement not later than this year.

According to him, the agency so far has only 261 ships, six helicopters and two Bombardier 415 aircraft.

Earlier, Zubil was present to witness the handing over of duties from outgoing Sarawak MMEA director, First Maritime Admiral Robert Teh Geok Chuan to new Sarawak MMEA director, Maritime Captain Zin Azman Md Yunus.

Teh will be retiring at the age of 58 after being Sarawak MMEA director for more than two years starting from May 28, 2018 until Sept 21, 2020.