PORT KLANG: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) officially received its first Bay Class patrol vessel from the Australian government Friday, which will be deployed to enhance maritime security mainly in the Straits of Malacca.
MMEA director-general Datuk Mohd Amdan Kurish said the vessel, a gift from Australia, would assist MMEA in tackling people smuggling activities, including those seeking to reach Australia by boat.
"The vessel is also an affirmation of the strong ties and close cooperation between the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) and MMEA," he told a press conference after the handing over and official naming ceremony of the vessel officiated by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim here.
In attendance were Australian Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton and ACBPS chief executive officer Roman Quaedvlieg.
Officially named 'Kapal Maritim Perwira', the vessel measuring 34.95m in length is equipped with, among others, closed-circuit television unit and facilities to accommodate suspected illegals.
Mohd Amdan said the vessel, to be stationed in Lumut, Perak, would undertake operations to eradicate trans-national crime like human smuggling activities through MMEA's 'Ops Redback 3' operation in the northern region of Kuala Selangor up to Langkawi, Kedah.
"MMEA is expected to receive its second Bay Class patrol vessel from Australia in May this year which will be stationed at Johor Baru," he added.
Meanwhile, Quaedvlieg told the same press conference that the vessel was viewed as a strategy to combat people smuggling and transnational crime on the high seas.
He noted that the Australian government had gifted Sri Lanka with two Bay Class patrol vessels to undertake similar operations. - Bernama