KUALA LUMPUR: The story from Bernama (below) to Malaysian Defence seemed redundant. Since money was paid for the release of the hijacked sailors and tankers, the involvement of the armed forces, will always be looked upon as trivial despite the sacrifices of the individual soldiers and sailors.
Malaysian Armed Forces Help Secure Release Of MISC Crew Members
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 (Bernama) — The armed forces were involved in the operations to free the crew members of the two hijacked Malaysian International Shipping Corporation (MISC) chemical tankers, said Defence Ministry public relations director Col Fadzlette Othman Merican.
“The MISC tankers, MT Bunga Melati Dua and MT Bunga Melati 5, and their crew members were released by the pirates in the Eyl waters off Somalia in the ‘Ops Fajar’ operation,” she said in a statement, Saturday.
She said the Royal Malaysian Navy and the Royal Malaysian Air Force kept the tankers under surveillance in the Aden Bay and the waters off Somalia until their crew members were released.
“The armed forces assisted the MISC in executing the release plan and protocol. This was to ensure that the crew members were released as there have been reports that crew members of other ships were not released after ransoms had been paid.
“The special and secret operation entailed the use of frigates and aircraft, and swift action to control and take over the tankers before they could be seized by other pirate groups,” she said.
Two naval ships, KD Lekiu and KD Sri Inderapura, naval crack unit, the army, RMAF aircraft, and an armed forces medical team took part in the operation.
Fadzlette said the armed forces were ready to act should the situation warrant it.
She said Malaysia joined France, Canada, Denmark, England, the United States and Spain which had sent warships to the hazardous waters.
She said assistance from Malaysian naval ships were also sought by vessels plying the waters off Somalia.
“The success of the operations has enhanced Malaysia’s image and position as a maritime nation.
“This is the first time the armed forces were involved in a rescue operation in the open sea, 7,000km from home.
It posed a logistic challenge to the armed forces for a lengthy duration and the need to execute a military operation other than war.
“Bad weather and choppy waters had made the operation difficult with the naval ships not being able to berth for almost one month,” she said.
Fadzlette said Malaysian naval ships would continue to provide security cover for MISC ships in the Aden Bay until the pirate threat dissipates and another frigate, KD Mahawangsa, had been deployed to the area.
“On the whole, the operation is seen as a stepping stone to the implementation of Hanruh, a comprehensive defence concept comprising strategic alliance between the armed forces and local strategic companies in dealing with maritime issues and incidents.
“This is in line with the National Defence Policy and the National Military Strategy,” she said.
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