PORT KLANG: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) will be able to further curb illegal activities on Malaysian waters with two new highly equipped patrol craft, says Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin (pic).
The Home Minister said that it is necessary for the MMEA to have top-notch assets with high surveillance ability to guard the coasts of Malaysia effectively.
He said this after witnessing MMEA receive two new patrol boats on Monday (July 6).
The patrol crafts were received by MMEA director-general Admiral (Maritime) Datuk Mohd Zubil Mat Som.
"These assets will further equip MMEA to monitor the South China Sea under Ops Benteng for undocumented migrants and foreign vessels.
"MMEA now has five such craft. They will be able to further curb encroachment by foreign fishing vessels, especially Vietnamese fishing vessels, from stealing our sea produce and destroying our marine ecosystem and biodiversity," said Hamzah.
He said that of the 100 foreign fishing vessels chased away during the past four months, 88 were Vietnamese.
"This is not only to ensure we can curb smuggling but also to make MMEA the main enforcement agency in the country," he added.
The two new-generation patrol crafts – KM Kota Kinabalu and KM Tok Bali – will be used to boost enforcement on the waters off Kelantan and Sarawak.
The vessels can stay in the sea for 10 days without returning to the shore for refuelling, and are also equipped with instruments such as naval guns and drones which can capture information night and day.
The vessels are also able to handle oil spills.
Hamzah said that such equipment is necessary to enable the MMEA to work together with the Malaysian Armed Forces and Royal Malaysia Police in the National Task Force to halt the arrival of undocumented migrants, using the Malaysian Maritime Sea Monitoring System.
The craft, built by local builder Destination Marine Services Sdn Bhd, are five of six patrol craft with the sixth still being built. The six vehicles cost about RM400mil in total.
KM Kota Kinabalu and KM Tok Bali will be docked at Kuching, Sarawak and Tok Bali, Kelantan respectively.
The Home Minister also said that the ministry is in the process of applying for high-tech multi-purpose mission ships which can carry six fast interceptor craft and unmanned aerial vehicles.