KUCHING (Sept 21): The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Sarawak will be receiving a new offshore patrol vessel (OPV) latest by the first quarter of next year, said MMEA director-general Datuk Mohd Zubil Mat Som.
Speaking at the press conference at the Tun Abang Salahuddin Maritime Complex (Komtas) here today, Mohd Zubil said three OPVs costing about RM700 million, are currently being constructed in Klang and when completed, they will be sent to Sarawak, Sabah and Pahang.
He said the OPV, measuring 83 metres long and 13.7 metres wide, which is capable of conducting patrols at sea for up to 30 days without having to return to base and can help curb the issue of foreign encroachments.
“With the availability of another new asset such as OPV, our capability in monitoring of water encroachments including by the illegal fishermen could be better enhanced,” he said.
Besides the OPVs, Mohd Zubil said MMEA will also own four additional medium sized helicopters which is expected to be delivered by end of this year.
As of now, he said MMEA has 261 boats and vessels, six helicopters and two Bombardier aircrafts.
Meanwhile, Mohd Zubil advised fishermen in the state to prioritise their safety by wearing life jackets when they are in the sea.
He said although it is not under MMEA’s duty to monitor the fishermen’s safety, their survival rate would be very high if they wear life jackets.
“If one is not wearing a life jacket, his survival rate would probably last him for hours staying afloat compared to eight hours or more if wearing a life jacket,” he added.
The function this morning also saw Zubil witnessing the handing-over of duties between outgoing Sarawak MMEA director First Admiral (Maritime) Robert Teh Geok Chuan and incoming state director Captain (Maritime) Zin Azman Md Yunus.
Teh, who has been the MMEA Sarawak director for the last two years from May 28, 2018 until Sept 21, this year will be retiring next year, while Zin Azman was formerly the MMEA Sarawak deputy director.