KUALA TERENGGANU: Who would have thought that a boatyard located at a riverine village in Terengganu would one day be able to make export-quality boats?
But Terengganu has been noted for its boat-making industry for generations, and it is thus not surprising that KayMarine Sdn Bhd, a bumiputera-owned company, has also become a noted boat-builder whose customers include foreigners.
Established in 1992, it has been building aluminium-based boats for security patrolling and leisure purposes.
Three years after it was set up, KayMarine began to undertake more challenging tasks, like making bullet-proof patrol boats for a neighbouring country.
Its managing director, Kamaruddin Mansor, who was interviewed with chairman Datuk Wan Albakri Wan Mohd Nor at their offices in Kampung Bukit Tumbuh near here recently, said the company had built boats for the Royal Malaysian Police Force, the Armed Forces, the Marine Department, Fisheries Department and other government agencies and private companies.
It has also fulfilled orders from customers in Nigeria, Mauritius, Brunei, Bangladesh, Hong Kong and North Korea.
Kamaruddin said 90% of its boats were made from aluminium and the rest were constructed with imported timber, especially from Australia, another noted boat-making country.
He said the company was currently completing seven two-hulled catamaran boats costing RM56mil in all for the Marine Department, which would use them for rescue operations.
Each catamaran is 26.5m long and they are used as ambulances on the sea', as they are equipped with various first aid and medical facilities, Kamaruddin said. These boats are usually deployed off Sabah.
Kamaruddin said KayMarine was in the process of sending 12 bullet-proof patrol boats to Nigeria for use in riverine areas.
Just before this, we received an order from Mauritius for patrol boats for use in their waters, he said, adding that the contract was won after bidding against boat-builders from Australia and Europe.
We are confident of ourselves as we know that we were chosen because of two major advantages or capabilities our expertise in both our operations and management, he said.
KayMarine has 140 permanent employees, of which 80 are engineers with 10 to 20 years of experience, and another 200 contract workers.
Kamaruddin said the company was awaiting word from North Korea on a contract that would use technology from that country.
North Korea needs small patrol boats to guard against infiltration, he said.
Wan Albakri said KayMarine had also established links with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) in Skudai, Johor, which would examine its designs.
With KayMarines expertise, we are capable of building bigger boats, he said.
But we have put this off for the time being until our facilities are expanded.
In future, he said, KayMarine aimed to build supply ships for use in oil and gas platforms, said Wan Albakri. Bernama