The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) is in the process of acquiring new assets to replace its aging fleet of vessels that are now between 30 and 50 years old, which could pose danger to its crew members.Its director-general Datuk Mohd Amdan Kurish said under the modernisation and technological upgrading plan, the agency would get the latest offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), training ships, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Amdan said the cost to maintain the present vessels, which were handed over by the Police and Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), was very high while their poor condition could also affect the safety of the crew members.
He said MMEA planned to decommission six Sipadan-class vessels that were given by RMN and replace them with new OPVs.
"We are also grateful that the Australian government would give us two patrol boats worth millions of Ringgit to help us stop illegal immigrants from entering their country," he said.
He said MMEA would send its officers and staff to Australia for six months to learn how to handle the Bay Class patrol vessels which were about 36-metre long.
To help increase its manpower, he said the agency would recruit another 10,000 staff by 2020 and they would be trained at Amsas here. (New Straits Times)