Friday, May 15, 2009

Making A More Permanent Presence?

I had commented in two of my previous postings that the RMN will end their Ops Fajar presence in the Gulf of Aden when KD Hang Tuah ends her deployment at the end of April although there were reports that an Auxilliary Patrol Ship being converted for duties in the Gulf and another ship being readied for further Gulf duties. Today the CNO Admiral Datuk Seri Abdul Aziz Jaafar finally had confirmed in a local Malay newspaper report that Ops Fajar has been further continued by the despatch of KD Inderapura for a two month deployment until the end of June.
Nonetheless the more interesting bit of news from the report is the fact that the CNO further mentioned that KD Inderapura tour of duty will be continued by an "auxiliary ship" the name of which the report says the CNO did not want to state. In page 6 of today's Berita Harian however, a small article that did not make it into the internet edition headlined "Kapal Khas Pantau Lanun" or 'Special Ship to Monitor Pirates', more details can discerned about the auxilliary ship that will be operational after Ops Fajar ends in June to monitor our nation's merchantment voyages in the Gulf. It was stated that the converted ship will become a platform for monitoring platform in the Gulf waters. The RMN will put on board the ship a crew of RMN men and support forces that will be rotated after a certain period of time. The ship itself will be in the Gulf water for a long period of time. This indicates to me that the RMN now intends to make their presence more permanent, and by using an auxilliary ship rather than a full fledged warship, will provide a more sensitive presence that is less militaristic in nature in the Gulf while allowing the Navy to not detach a unit from their fleet that may now face a hotter situation in the national waters if the Spratlys issue takes a turn for the worse. Whatever it is I cannot help but wonder whether this auxilliary ship that is undergoing conversion is this ship snapped by a blogger while travelling past Lumut Naval base that was posted on her site. Interesting speculation it does make, doesn't it.

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