MISC Bhd, in collaboration with the Royal Malaysian Navy and the National Security Council converted the MV Bunga Mas Lima to escort and protect its ships sailing through the pirate-infested gulf off the coast of Somalia.More here. And here:
This follows last year's hijacking of two MISC ships there.
In a statement yesterday, MISC said the conversion was carried out by its heavy engineering arm Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering Sdn Bhd here.
The Bunga Mas Lima is the first Malaysian merchant ship to be converted into an auxiliary vessel for the navy.
A ceremony to commemorate the successful conversion of the ship was held here yesterday, attended by Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latif Ahmad, navy chief Admiral Datuk Seri Abdul Aziz Jaafar and MISC president and chief executive officer Amir Hamzah Azizan.
Since last year's hijackings, RMN had launched Op Fajar, a rescue, escort and protection mission, with the aim of ensuring the safe passage of all MISC vessels in the Gulf of Aden.
The navy has deployed five ships in support of that mission.
But with Bunga Mas Lima, one of the five ships currently stationed in the Gulf of Aden, will return to Malaysia this month.
The RMN auxiliary vessel will be manned by MISC personnel, who had completed a training programme with RMN. The crew, now taking on the role of navy reservists, will be responsible for the navigation and maintenance of the vessel.
For MISC, the operationalisation of Bunga Mas Lima as a Naval Auxiliary Vessel is a testimony of its long-term commitment to the safety of its employees and vessels, particularly amidst the concerns over the rising global piracy threats that could jeopardise its operations in the Gulf of Aden.
For RMN, the concept of operationalising Bunga Mas Lima as a RMN Naval Auxiliary Vessel is an important step in realising the dream of the nation, in particular the Malaysian Armed Forces which practices the concept of Pertahanan Menyeluruh or Total Defense (HANRUH), as stated in the National Defence Policy.