KA Tun Azizan, Long In the Tooth

SHAH ALAM: IT appears that KA Tun Azizan which commissioned into RMN service as an auxiliary ship in 2014 is not in a great shape. The first hint of trouble for the ship was revealed when a quotation notice was published on March 12 this year to tow her from Semporna to Sandakan, in Sabah.

The towing notice meant that the ship had suffered an engine failure and was unable to make her way to Sandakan on her own power. It is unclear when the ship suffered the failure. The towing contract was awarded to Fah Lee Sea Transport Sdn Bhd with an LOA of RM109,500.

ESSCOM sea basing platforms (from left) KA Bunga Mas Lima, KA Tun Rodziah and KA Tun Azizan. RMN picture

On the same day, the towing notice was issued, another notice to repair leaking on the main engine cylinder was also published. The LOA of RM446,7000 was issued to Navamas Engineering Sdn Bhd.
A close-up of KA Tun Azizan bow. KA Tun Azizan.

Another notice was published on April 4 for the repair of ACU sea water piping system which was awarded to BS Marine Enterprise with an LOA of RM286,695,36. It is unclear whether both repairs were completed when another notice was published to tow Tun Azizan to Shinyard Shipyard in Miri, Sarawak, from Sandakan.

No contract has been issued for the towing service yet though four bidders had entered the competition. That said the Tun Azizan account on X posted from Kota Kinabalu on June 16.


The other RMN auxiliary ship KA Bunga Mas Lima is berthed at the RMN Kota Kinabalu naval base, checks on ships location website today.

The header of KA Tun Azizan X account.

It is unclear though when Tun Azizan will be towed to Miri then. On June 16, a notice was issued for the repair of the ship’s Watsila main gearbox. The notice closes on July 2.
RMN auxiliary ship KD Tun Azizan. Joint Force picture

The travails of Tun Azizan are another indication of the lack of investment in the RMN. It is relying on old and high mileage vessels to conduct its operations which are prone to faults and other issues.
A CB90 being loaded on board KA Bunga Mas Lima in 2016. BM5

It is unlikely she will undergo a repowering project as had been done to RMN patrol fleet as she is too old already and not worth the investment. The ship was launched in 1999 and served as a cargo carrier before her transfer to the RMN and paid for by Petronas.
A 2016 picture of KA Bunga Mas Lima from its own Twitter account.

It must be noted, even the RMN is having second thoughts on the repowering programme based on conversations I had during DSA 2024.

–Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam

21 Comments

  1. >lack of investment from RMN

    Billions poured down the drain. We can say they’re not spending money the way they should’ve have but to say it’s lack of investment is plain wrong

  2. Add more this kind of axuliary ship and deploy it in Sabah and Sarawak facing South China Sea. We need to show our present in contested water. We really dont want what happened to Philippine happened to us.

  3. dundun – ”Billions poured down the drain. ”

    We spent ”billions” on Tun Azizan? Is her current stare due to age and usage or for other reasons? Or both? Until we know that …

    Rock – ” We really dont want what happened to Philippine happened to us.”

    And we don’t want to be invaded like Ukraine but the situation faced by Ukraine and the Philippines in the South China Sea is a wee bit different to what we face. Also; even if the Philippines had 40 ships in the area the Chinese would still do what they do …

  4. “Add more this kind of axuliary ship…to show our present…”

    Better go for new purpose-build patrol vessels.

  5. Sometimes Its Kinda Weird To Me. Philippine Has Navy But Why They Are Keep Harassed By PRC?

  6. Anon – “Philippine Has Navy But Why They Are Keep Harassed By PRC”

    The country is seen by China as a U.S. proxy and engages in certain actions viewed by China as “provocative” and “illegal”.

  7. Filipino actions like initiating arbitral proceedings with the UN against China [which ruled against China]; publicising Chinese actions and participating in exercises aimed against China; including for the 1st time holding an exercise outside the 12 limit and sinking a ship which obviously was a simulated Chinese ship; have infuriated the Chinese.

  8. Recent News : Even Philippine Navy Special Forces (SEAL Equivalent) Harrased And Surendered In New PRC Provocation. Just Hope Things Will Not Escalated More.

  9. Azlan

    >The travails of Tun Azizan are another indication of the lack of investment in the RMN. It is relying on old and high mileage vessels to conduct its operations which are prone to faults and other issues.

    Do you understand the context of the paragraph or are you arguing for the sake of arguing

  10. The Pinoys are not the only being harassed by the PRC. The Japanese have a well-equipped Navy (even better than the Philippines, I daresay) and they still get harassed by China.

    IIRC the CCG ships are ex-PLAN destroyers, specifically Sovremenny minus the armaments. Those ships are huge and are probably bigger than whatever the Pinoys have in their fleet.

  11. Dundun – ”Do you understand the context of the paragraph or are you arguing for the sake of arguing”

    Two things.

    – I don’t ”argue for the sake of arguing”.
    – The question was crystal clear; left no room for ambiguity.

  12. Anon,

    What’s so surprising? The SEALs are at the forefront of things. Makes no difference to the Chinese what unit it is.

    If things escalate sooner or later the whole region is affected; even countries not directly involved. If the economic affects of Covid wa bad; the economic affects of a war in the South China Sea would be catastrophic.

  13. Marhalim,

    The plural of “travail” is “travaux”, assuming that the word is lifted wholesale from French. Based on how you used it in this article it seems to have lost its original meaning; “travail” means work in French.

    Just a little bit of trivia, nothing serious

  14. ASM,

    Have the Sovremmenys really been handed over to the Coast Guard? Doubt it.

    The Chinese tangle with anyone who gets in their way; the Americans, Australians, Canadians, Vietnamese, Filipinos, etc.
    As far as the Chinese are concerned the area foreign ships are in are Chinese waters and non regional countries who get involved are poking their nose in a Chinese dispute which has nothing to do with them.

    The JMSDF is a completely category compared to the PN; in assets and tertiary capabilities. Apart from a handful of new ships the bulk of the PN’s fleet comprises ships decades old; some as far back as the 1940s/50s.

  15. There’s an article in ”War On The Rocks” on why China is treating the Philippines the way it has and on recent Vietnamese actions. A very good read.

  16. Beached the vessel on the Terumbu Ubi or Terumbu Mantanani (somewhere near Terumbu Layang-layang / Spratly’s) and there you have a makeshift outpost.

  17. imho need the ship at Esscom not SCS, so it will be drydock, maybe out of action for weeks (can drag for months), repair/replace only faulty critical equipment to get it seaworthy & sailing on its own power.

    Wonder why to Miri whereas Labuan is nearer.

  18. ASM – ”The plural of “travail” is “travaux”, assuming that the word is lifted wholesale from French. Based on how you used it in this article it seems to have lost its original meaning; “travail””

    But he was writing in English and the plural of ”travail” in English is ”travails”. Also it may be a French word which means ”work” but in English ”travail” [as you know] means something else.

  19. Zainal – ”Beached the vessel on the Terumbu Ubi or Terumbu Mantanani ”

    You reckon we’d do anything to upset the status quo? The idea is to maintain the status quo and not ruffle any feathers. If we did what you suggested the Chinese would react. Another question is do we really need to beach something there?

    I really don’t get this fascination with beaching things. The Filipinos did it with the Sierra Madre because there was an acute sense of urgency and there was no readily available alternative. We have a physical presence where it matters [including Terumbu Ubi/Ardasier Bank and Terumbu Mantanani/Mariveles Reef; we can’t have a physical presence at every single reef or piece of rock we claim.

  20. Azlan,

    My mistake, PLAN didn’t transfer their Sovremnneys but actually 3 of their frigates to the CCG.

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