SHAH ALAM: KD Jebat caught fire as she berthed at the Lumut naval base this morning (May 02, 2017). The fire was detected at 2.30am and it was fully extinguished at 5 am. According to the RMN, early indications showed that the fire started during the preparation of food for sahur. The fire was apparently limited to the officer’s mess only.
An investigation to determine the cause of the fire will be conducted, says the RMN in its official release. The fire, though small, will continue Jebat’s reputation as an unlucky ship. As you may remember, Jebat was slightly damaged following a collision with a merchant’s vessel off Port Klang, on Jan. 15, 2014.
Her unlucky reputation, however, precedes that incident however though most likely it was because she was named Jebat, the rebel in the famous Hikayat Hang Tuah epic. The other RMN ship named after Jebat was KD Rahmat which was named KD Hang Jebat when she was first ordered in 1966.
She was renamed Rahmat I was told in an attempt to shake off the various problems suffered by the ship which started during her builder trials and continued to dog her while in service. Despite various attempts to fix her, including an engine change, Rahmat was never considered combat ready and she served as a training ship until her retirement in 2004.
Anyhow, following the fire it is likely the Jebat will undergo refit at the adjacent Boustead Naval Shipyard. BNS has the long term maintenance contract for the Lekiu-class frigates, KD Lekiu and Jebat. Perhaps this time around, the navy will decide to award the contract to upgrade the ship’s combat management system.
Industry sources told Malaysian Defence that the navy had not awarded the contract as the OEM, BAE Systems, had quoted a much higher price for upgrading the CMS. Therefore, the navy was still looking around for a cheaper solution.
I was also informed that both ships have yet to be installed with the new electro-optical system already selected in early 2016. It is also likely that other items selected for both ships have yet to be install on them.
The EOs for the Laksamana class in the meantime, are expected to be install within the next few months. These items if you may recalled were paid for by bartering the retired Otomat missiles.
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