The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has taken delivery of a new naval auxiliary vessel, Bunga Mas Lima (BM5), from the Malaysia International Shipping Corporation (MISC).
The vessel will be commissioned by the RMN and will be operated to ensure maritime safety, as well as enhancing RMN’s future maritime defence strategy.
MISC CEO and president Yee Yang Chien said: "MISC’s collaboration with the RMN to convert the Bunga Mas Lima into a naval auxiliary vessel was a significant milestone for the company and set a bold precedent for the shipping industry as MISC was the first and only shipping company that has implemented this unique security arrangement to protect its ships, crew and cargo against piracy."
The 132.8m-long ship was built by Malaysian Marine and heavy engineering and was launched in 1997.
It has a displacement of 9,000t and is propelled by a heavy fuel tank, cylinder oil tank, and a fresh water tank.
The auxiliary multi-purpose support ship was acquired in June 2009, and was converted by MISC to escort ships safely across the piracy stricken water passages.
The modifications included accommodating extra crew, fittings for launching rigid hull inflatable boats, a helicopter deck to accommodate landing, and a hangar.
A forward crane was removed to facilitate free movement of helicopters while the second crane was shifted to the starboard side of the ship above the hangar.
During its deployment in the RMN operations, codenamed OP FAJAR, from June 2009 until May 2014, the vessel has a history of escorting of 415 vessels.
It was assigned to support the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) in July 2014, and was stationed at Sabah’s east coast as part of the forward operational base for intercepting cross-border criminals.
The vessel had a role to play in the evacuation of Malaysian students out of Egypt during the 2011 Egyptian Spring revolution.
It also countered a hijacking attempt against MT Bunga Laurel in January 2011.