Home Minister: MMEA S’waks OPV1 named KM Tun Fatimah, two more new OPVs coming

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Wan Azizah strikes the gong to launch the KM Tun Fatimah.

KUCHING (March 2): Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Sarawak’s new offshore patrol vessel OPV1 has been officially named ‘KM Tun Fatimah’ based on one of Malaysia’s srikandi or heroine.

The name was given by the wife of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Dato’ Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail during a grand ceremony at the Kuching Port Authority here today.

“The name Tun Fatimah is chosen as a reflection of leadership and bravery,” said Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail to a press conference after the naming ceremony.

He said that with the inclusion of KM Tun Fatimah, it will not only reflect the success and pride of the MMEA but also to further improve their maritime efficiency.

According to him, since the handing over of KM Tun Fatimah to MMEA Sarawak late last year, it has been deployed throughout the country’s waters in the South China Sea to address issues related to the safety of the country’s maritime borders.

He added that during its first month of operations at sea, the vessel with its crew of 56 members managed to thwart two illegal foreign fishing vessels in February this year.

The KM Tun Fatimah patrolling in the waters of Sarawak.

“MMEA Sarawak managed to seize about RM3 million worth of sea products from the two foreign vessels,” he said, adding that two more OPVs for MMEA Sarawak are still being built.

With KM Tun Fatimah as OPV1, the still-being-built OPV2 is at 35 per cent completed while OPV3 between 20 and 25 per cent completed, he said.

Once completed, both vessels will be delivered to MMEA Sarawak as additional assets to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty.

“The deployment of these vessels to which part of the South China Sea will be up to the strategies of the MMEA,” said Saifuddin when asked if the vessels will be deployed to patrol the waters of Beting Patinggi Ali in Bintulu.

Based on MMEA statistics, between 2019 and 2023, a total of 533 maritime cases have been recorded involving the detention of foreign vessels.

Out of the 533 cases, a total of 406 vessels have been identified to be of Vietnamese origin.

Also the VIPs present at the ceremony were MMEA director-general Maritime Admiral Datuk Hamid Mohd Amin, MMEA Sarawak director First Admiral Zin Azman Md Yunus, Sarawak Police Commissioner Dato Mancha Ata and KM Tun Fatimah commanding officer Captain Khairol Anuar Saad.