Naval Warfare

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency Takes Delivery of Offshore Patrol Vessel OPV1

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Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency Takes Delivery of Offshore Patrol Vessel OPV1

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Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency Takes Delivery of Offshore Patrol Vessel OPV1
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency Takes Delivery of Offshore Patrol Vessel OPV1

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA, Agensi Penguatkuasaan Maritim Malaysia) celebrated a significant milestone in its operational capabilities as it officially welcomed the arrival of its locally constructed vessel, OPV1, during a ceremony held at the TH Heavy Engineering (THHE) Fabricators jetty in Pulau Indah, Port Klang. The ceremony, presided over by Home Ministry Secretary-general Datuk Ruji Ubi on December 2, marked a significant milestone for maritime security in the region. The delivery of OPV1, also known as KM Tun Fatimah, was notable for being 16 months behind schedule, attributed to contractual obligations that mandated its delivery by August 2022. All ships will be named after female warriors of Malaysia. The RM738.9 million contract, awarded in January 2017 to THHE-Destini, aimed at the construction of three Offshore Patrol Vessels. However, complications arose within the contracting entity, leading to changes in ownership and subsequent delays.

Initially a joint venture, Destini sold its stake in THHE, which subsequently underwent a change in ownership. Following the 2018 general election, the PH government orchestrated the takeover of THHE by Urus Harta Jemaah Sdn Bhd, a move under the Minister of Finance (Incorporated). Despite this transition in ownership, Urus Harta Jemaah remained at the helm of THHE, overseeing the offshore patrol vessel’s construction and delivery. This period of transition coincided with extensions in delivery deadlines, pushing OPV1’s completion to August 2022 and subsequently delaying OPV2 and OPV3 by an additional year. With the arrival of OPV1, the MMEA stands to bolster its operational capabilities, enhancing its ability to safeguard Malaysian waters and enforce maritime regulations effectively.

Home Ministry Secretary-general Datuk Ruji Ubi officiated the ceremony at the TH Heavy Engineering (THHE) Fabricators jetty at Pulau Indah, Port Klang on December 2.
Home Ministry Secretary-general Datuk Ruji Ubi officiated the ceremony at the TH Heavy Engineering (THHE) Fabricators jetty at Pulau Indah, Port Klang on December 2. (Photo by MMEA)

The inaugural Tun Fatimah class Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV1) has joined a fleet of 15 Maritime Vessels (KM) under the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) for the West Force Maritime Exercise 2023, showcasing its capabilities. OPV1’s participation in this exercise aligns with the goal of fully assessing its capabilities before its official handover to Maritime Malaysia. The sea trial phase, spanning four days from November 28th to December 1st, 2023 covers a distance of 630 nautical miles in the Malacca Strait from Port Klang to Langkawi Island. During an inspection aboard KM Pekan to oversee the readiness of all vessels and enforcement personnel involved in the West Force Maritime Exercise 2023. Additionally, this exercise aims to enhance the competencies of nearly 500 officers and members of Maritime Malaysia, preparing them for future real-world operational scenarios.

The Tun Fatimah class is an offshore patrol vessel built by the Malaysian company THHE-Destini with the assistance of Damen company from the Netherlands based on the design of the Damen 1800-class OPV vessel. The class is also known as the Damen 1800-class offshore patrol vessel and the class changed names after the first ship of the class, KM Tun Fatimah. The Tun Fatimah class Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) class has a length of 83 metres (272 ft 4 in), a beam of 13.7 metres (44 ft 11 in), and a draught of 3.75 metres (12 ft 4 in). She has a displacement of 1,890 tonnes and a speed of 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph). The main armament of the ship are one 1 × 30 mm Aselsan SMASH remote weapon system (RWS) and light defensive weapons such as 12.7 mm and 7.62 mm machine guns. She also has a complement of 46 crew. To fulfill the patrol duty, she also able to operate one medium-sized helicopter and one unmanned aerial vehicle.

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