PORT KLANG: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has received two highly equipped patrol vessels as part of the government’s initiative to better monitor coastal areas and the high seas.Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin said it was necessary for MMEA to have top-notch assets with high surveillance ability to guard the coasts effectively.
“These two new generation patrol boats will further equip MMEA to monitor the South China Sea under Ops Benteng from illegal immigrants and foreign vessels.
“MMEA now has five such craft. They will be able to further curb encroachment by foreigners, especially Vietnamese fishing vessels, from stealing our sea produce and destroying the biodiversity ecosystem of the sea, ” he said after witnessing MMEA director-general Admiral (maritime) Datuk Mohd Zubil Mat Som receiving the two new patrol boats yesterday.
Hamzah added that of the 100 foreign fishing vessels chased away during the past four months, 88 of them were Vietnamese.
“This is not only to ensure that we can curb smuggling, but also to make MMEA one of the country’s main enforcement agencies, ” he said.The two new generation patrol boats – KM Kota Kinabalu and KM Tok Bali – will be used to further enhance enforcement in the waters off Kelantan and Sarawak.
The vessels can stay in the seas for 10 days without returning to the shore for refuelling as well as equipped with naval guns and drones, which can capture information day and night. They can also handle oil spills.Hamzah said such equipment was necessary to enable MMEA to work together with the army and police to curb the entry of illegal immigrants using the Malaysian Maritime Sea Monitoring System.
The two vessels were built by Destination Marine Services Sdn Bhd at a cost of about RM400mil.
KM Kota Kinabalu and KM Tok Bali will be docked in Kuching, Sarawak, and Tok Bali, Kelantan, respectively.
Hamzah also said the ministry was in the process of applying for multi-purpose mission ships, which are equipped with latest technology and can carry six fast interceptor craft and unmanned aerial vehicles.