Motherships Needed

SHAH ALAM: Motherships needed. The Malaysian Coast Guard has a need for at least two large vessels to serve as “motherships” for its small patrol boats to boost its maritime enforcement duties.

MMEA director general Adm. (M) Zulkifli Abu Bakar says the “motherships” if acquired could be stationed at the Beting Patinggi Ali, off Sarawak and the east coast of the peninsula so they could served as floating resupply platform for smaller patrol boats.

He says to Bernama

Small patrol boats can obtain food and fuel supplies from these vessels without having to return to shore, and it would save time and cost. He said MMEA had about 250 boats for patrol and monitoring in the country’s waters.


KM Perwira at LIMA 17, She is only 38.2 meters long.

Despite the numbers, most of these patrol boats are less than 50 meters long which meant that they are almost unsuitable for duties in the South China Sea.

A service barge. Similar barges are widely available for an outright purchase or lease.

When top Coastie re-tweet the story, I replied to him saying that probably they could also used service or derrick barges as the floating resupply base. Such platforms are already widely used in the oil and gas industry to service and resupply oil platforms though for the coast guard’s needs certain modifications will need to be carried out.

Hercules, the service barge used by the US in the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq tanker war in the 1980s. US Navy picture.

Sea base platforms is not a new a thing even in Malaysia. In the Sulu sea, we already operate the Tun Sharifah Rodziah and two converted container ships, KA Tun Azizan and KA Bunga Mas Lima as a mobile patrol platform as forward resupply platforms.
ESSCOM sea basing platforms (from left) Bunga Mas Lima, Tun Rodziah and Tun Azizan. RMN picture

Of course, we could also buy new or converted ships to serve as the resupply platforms. For this article I am using pictures from Damen Shipyard as the company’s website is a treasure trove for such marine vessels.

Damen 71 meter accomodation barge. This barge was designed to serve the offshore wind industry though with modifications it could easily served as a mothership for the coast guard.

We could also get Damen to modify their landing ship design to serve as the mothership platform. The 120 meter platform (below) could carry four patrol ships, supplies and could also be armed with container-based weapons modules.
Damen 120m landing ship. Could be easily modified to serve as a mother ship.

I readily admit that other shipyards could offer better ships than the examples above but their design collection are not as accessible as the Damen ones. And I am not a good graphic artist!
A CGI of the T26

Anyhow, it was reported yesterday that BAE Systems has been awarded a contract by the UK Defence Ministry worth £3.7bn to manufacture the first three ships for the Type 26 Global Combat Ship programme.
A rear CGI of the Type 26.

This is interesting to us as the ship was offered to us some 10 years ago as a replacement for the cancelled Lekiu batch 2. The offer was declined as the ship was too expensive and big for our needs. The offer was made as the RMN was at that time was finalising its requirements for the second generation patrol vessel which end up being called the LCS.
A CGI of the Belharra frigate. DCNS

Personally I prefer the looks of the Belharra frigate, which is also too expensive for us.

— Malaysian Defence

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