How Much Is The Port Charges for an OPV?

KM Tun Fatimah - leading the formation of APMM ships. The picture is taken from KM Pekan - the other OPV from APMM taking part in the exercise. The picture was taken in December 2023 when the ship was still known as OPV 1 as she was not commissioned into service. APMM

SHAH ALAM: IN my earlier posting on KM Tun Fatimah, I stated that the OPV will need to be commissioned into service before the government could pay for its operational and maintenance costs. As Tun Fatimah is already in service and currently operating out off the Kuching port we now know exactly how much its operational costs are.

The operational cost for the next ten months will be RM351,890. This is based on the sole bid of the list price for a quotation notice for the maintenance of the ship from March to December 2024.

Tun Fatimah sponsor DS Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and other invited guests posed for a picture with the crew of KM Tun Fatimah. APMM.

I know the contract has not been awarded yet but since only one bidder saw fit to enter the quotation notice, I am guessing that it will be the contract amount.

So what services to be provided for Tun Fatimah for almost RM40,000 a month? Among others the services include port pilot, pilot boat, tug boat, mooring and unmooring and communication fees. The services are meant to allow Tun Fatimah to enter and leave the port for its duties.

Briefing on the jetty where KM Tun Fatimah is berthed at Kuching port last year. Note the passenger ferries in the back. APMM

Other services to be provided include 1000 liters of fresh water per month: garbage collection; bunkering charges of 100 metric tonnes; bunkering fire engine; generator set and administrative fees.

It must be noted that the above are just the port charges for the ship as she is now berthed at Kuching port. MMEA has it own headquarters and jetty – named Kompleks Maritim Tun Abang Sallehudin – at Muara Tebuas located some 25km north of Kuching. It is likely the jetty is too small to accommodate Tun Fatimah.

KM Tun Fatimah at sea for the 2023 Maritime Perkasa Barat exercise. APMM

Perhaps in the future, they will expand the MMEA complex to allow Tun Fatimah to berth at the jetty and reduce the operational costs.

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2225 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. bunkering charges = service fee for fueling up the ship

    1 metric tonnes of marine fuel is roughly 1000 liters or 1 meter cubic.×4096
    The monthly fuel paid for the ship is 100 metric tonnes or 100 meter cubic. The ship has a max fuel load of 220 meter cubic. So monthly fuel for the ship is enough for half of its possible maximum endurance/range.

    The actual fuel cost is not included. Currently MGO price per 1 tonne is about USD800. That means 100 tonnes of fuel is around RM380k.

    Also notice that the supply of 1000 liter water is just about 1 meter cubic, when the ship actually have tanks for 50 meter cubic of water. That means most of the ship’s water will be generated by the ship’s own desalination plants.

  2. Weird planning if there is such a plan at all. Imagine had all three OPVs were delivered on time…the cost.

  3. Like buying a huge car without considering the parking space. But was the original intention to base a unit at Kuching port or was all 3 meant to base at larger MMEA bases? What about the bases that is berthing KM Arau & Pekan?

    This also food for thought for those pushing MMEA to get a 130mtr ocean cutter.

  4. Even the Bagan Datuk class has to find berths elsewhere as the MMEA jetties are too small or located in shallow waters. The one based in Port Klang berthed at the RMN hydrographic centre at Pulau Indah. It is not the fault of the MMEA that it has no proper jetties for its ships. It is up to the government to fund new bases for the MMEA. Note they have yet to built proper bases for MMEA in Kota Kinabalu, Labuan and Bintulu. KM Arau and KM Pekan are usually berthed at civilian jetties as with Tun Fatimah. KM Langkawi was berthed at the RMN naval base before she was sent down to Lumut for the refit.

    Even if all three OPVs are completed only one needs berthing as the other two will be out for patrol and training.

    The decision to allow marine police to patrol the seas – up to 12 NM limit – has seriously messed up MMEA planning. The government – Najib one of course – was only interested in making sure some body makes money for the shipbuilding. The current government meanwhile is simply uninterested.

  5. Are you sure FW only 1000 liters per month? Even a small tugboat with 6 crew consumes about 2000 liters per day!
    1 metric tonne of fuel is approximately 1200 liters.

  6. One is of vested interest, the other is uninterested.
    Really between a rock & a hard place.

    Which comes back to my point the other tered, people pushing too many big boats to MMEA without consideration of crew availability and berthing space. But also MMEA have no indications of budgeting to enlarging their bases, so perhaps its also self inflicted.

  7. With Marine police around the only realistic market segmentation that MMEA can operate in is the gunboat segment of everyone else’s navy. I mean RSN pretty much painted their gunboat white.

    Thus while everyone else’s navy have both surface combatants and gunboat. We should segregated it with our navy operate only the surface combatants while our CG operate the gunboat.

    So the most realistic but obviously going to controversial is to transfer some of RMN bases or if the navy is unwilling just use the same bases.

  8. In the bigger point of view, berthing space is the least of our concern, when the main issue is to have ships with high endurance to be able to match the at-sea days and always be available on location when Chinese Coast Guard ships are there.

    When not out at sea, ships does not have to be always alongside. Royal Navy for example regularly anchor their ships just inside port breakwaters when not out on patrol. You can see hundreds of ships anchored off Singapore and Pasir Gudang, not all parked alongside a pier/jetty. Japan Coast Guard and USCG regularly use civilian piers for their ships.

    As for operating costs, RM350k for 10 months support is small really for a large 83m 1800 ton displacement ship. Even if you add up the fuel cost of RM380k per month, it will come out about RM5 million per year. Compare that to around RM10 million per year for TLDM LMS Keris-class

    If LMS Keris-class is 2x the DAMEN OPV1800, the ADA-Class Corvette with Gas Turbines will be way much higher.

  9. Maybe MMEA will use those big OPV to justify shore installations upgrades & new bases.

  10. The obvious answer is for MMEA to return to the role which it had since 2006 to 2013 and take over the marine police bases.

  11. Transferring of TLDM bases is doubtful as they done the asset transfer once during MMEA setup and I doubt the want to go again. Sharing berthing is currently done not sure how TLDM feels for MMEA to continue freeloading.

    “In the bigger point of view, berthing space is the least of our concern”
    If you buy house but never consider it does not come with parking how would you keep if you then buy an Alphard? Mission endurance is 1 thing, larger ships tend to have better endurance yes, but where to park them. Short term they can anchor offshore and use motorboats for transfers but its not ideal nor economical if need to run of its own power and then bunkering will be a huge hassle.

    “hundreds of ships anchored off Singapore and Pasir Gudang”
    Most are there waiting for couple of hours/days to get into port. Majority are not there for parking. Its common for busy airports too where planes go on holding pattern waiting for slot to land. Yes im aware there are ghost ships that anchor long term and then there are those ones waiting for *ahem* business.

    “take over the marine police bases.”
    Will it help, i mean its not like Polis Marin too has bigger berths since they dont have large boats either. The best is for MMEA to upgrade/setup new base, to cater for larger ships and for that MMEA needs to forgo some of CAPEX for new ships. Can they do it? They have to.

  12. AFAIK bunkerage on ports will via underground tanks direct to boat or via tanker trucks, still be cheaper to run than bunkerage by refueling ships. So the same extra hassle & cost. Not a good idea for a cashstrap outfit.

  13. … – “ In the bigger point of view, berthing space is the least of our concern”

    It is a major concern. Amidst all this constant talk about the MMEA needing more hardware: constantly overlooked is the fact that the MMEA also needs to improve on or expend its shore support infrastructure. Something the MMEA is acutely aware of and would like to rectify.

    … – “ When not out at sea, ships does not have to be always alongside. Royal Navy for example regularly anchor their ships just inside port breakwaters when not out on patrol”

    But, yes there is a but; when there is a need to arm or for maintenance the ships still have to be berthed at a pier/jetty.

    Zaft – “We should segregated it with our navy operate only the surface combatants while our CG operate the gunboat”

    In case you haven’t noticed the RMN operates ships armed with missiles whilst the MMEA operates OPVs , patrol boats and various types of ships with varying displacements which are armed only with guns.

    Zaft – “Thus while everyone else’s navy have both surface combatants and gunboat”

    Do you actually know what the definition of a “gunboat” is and the fact that “surface combatant” is a broad category; could be a 12,000 tonne cruiser, a 3,000 tonne frigate or a 450 tonne FAC.

  14. If RMN replace their currently extremely old operating gun only boat with newer gun only boat then they together with Marine police would squeeze MMEA out of relevance and existence.

    But If RMN going forward would only operate missiles capable ship then their ship count would drop due to the high cost of such ship and thus has a few bases to spare to MMEA.

  15. zaft – ”If RMN replace their currently extremely old operating gun only boat with newer gun only boat ”

    The keyword is ”if” but in reality the RMN has no plans and has long had no plans to get any units which are armed only with guns.

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