KUCHING, Jan 6 -- The Sarawak Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) is expected to receive the first of its new offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) in June this year at the latest.
Its director, First Admiral (Maritime) Zin Azman Md Yunis said the ships, which are currently being built in Klang, Selangor, will serve as main vessels that will strengthen MMAE’s enforcement in the country’s waters.
“The first vessel, named KM Tun Fatimah, is expected to be sent here between April and June and will be stationed in Beting Patinggi Ali,” he told a media conference today.
He said the said vessel was supposed to have been delivered earlier but completion of the vessel was delayed as foreign experts were not able to travel to Malaysia due to the spread of COVID-19.
Zin Azman had earlier witnessed the symbolic transfer of the vessel KM Semilang to Tanjung Manis from the Tun Abang Salahuddin maritime complex jetty near here.
He said that KM Semilang would increase the Tanjung Manis Maritime Zone’s capabilities in conducting enforcement operations, adding that currently there was only a boat stationed there.
He explained that the MMEA currently relies on the Royal Malaysian Navy whenever they require larger vessels.
However, he said the agency would be able to increase its enforcement and patrols in the state’s waters with additional assets of 15 vessels, including the three OPVs, and 15 boats to be received starting this year.
“The challenge in Sarawak is the vastness of its waters, and at 239,605 square kilometres, is the largest among all states in the country,” he added.
According to him, the Sarawak MMEA inspected 15,450 vessels and detained 71 of them for investigation for various offences last year and was involved in 20 search and rescue operations involving 225 victims, with 210 successfully rescued, 12 found dead and three still missing.
“The MV Dayang Topaz incident in October last year had the highest number of victims, involving 187 people (185 safely rescued and two found dead),” he said.
Malaysian National News Agency
No.28 Jalan BERNAMA
Off Jalan Tun Razak
50400 Kuala Lumpur
Tel : +603-2693 9933 (General Line)
Email : helpdesk[at]bernama.com