Mutiara Decommissioned

Mutiara after her decommissioning

LUMUT: Mutiara Decommissioned. KD Mutiara, one of two hydrographic ships of the navy was decommissioned today, some 41 years after she was put into service with the RMN.

She is the second – though the first Kapal DiRaja – to be decommissioned under the service 15 to 5 transformation plan. The first ship to be decommissioned as part of the plan was a tug boat, Kepah. Kepah was formerly known as KTD Kepah.

Mutiara after her decommissioning

Mutiara was commissioned on Dec. 18, 1977, at the RMN Woodlands base. Since her entry into service, Mutiara had sailed some 220,000 km most of it on hydrographic missions. Among the notable missions performed by Mutiara was the surveying of the Terumbu Layang-Layang in the South China Sea in the early 1980s and the search for the MH370 in the Indian Ocean in 2014.

KD Mutiara shortly before her decommissioning

She was built in late 1975 at the Hong Leong shipyard at Butterworth and launched on September, 1976. Her first captain, Cdr. Goh Siew Chong, who retired as Captain were among the 14 former COs present at the decommissioning ceremony. After Goh, Mutiara had 17 other COs with the last was Cdr Khairul Annuar Abdul Aziz.

End Of Line. Sailors of KD Mutiara pulling down her ensign for the last time.

In the course of her service, some 2250 officers and sailors were trained onboard. With the retirement of Mutiara, RMN has only one hydrographic ship in service, KD Perantau. Since 2016, the navy had contracted a private company to provide a ship to allow RMN hydrographers to conduct the same surveys as done by Mutiara and Perantau.

Some of the former COs of KD Perantau. The first on the left is Cdr Goh, the first CO. The lady seated is the widow of the sixth CO who had passed away.

Mutiara costs only RM35 million went built in 1975, though the cost of maintenance, fuel and personnel during her 41 years had amounted to RM1 billion, says RMN chief Adm. Kamarulzaman Badaruddin.

Kamarulzaman said the contract ship had achieved the target to operate 300 days in its first year.
“The cost of the ship for 300 days was only RM14.9 million compared to the RM44.5 million needed to operate KD Mutiara for the same period. In terms of performance, the contract ship will be able to survey on four years, the same area covered by Mutiara during her 41 years in service.

Sailors of Mutiara pulling her ensign and decommissioning penant at the ceremony

“It is clear the use of the contracted platform had a great impact in terms of cost savings, the main objective of the navy’s 15 to 5 transformation plan,” he added.

KD Mutiara sailor ringing her bell for the last time. The bell was rang 41 times to mark her years in service with RMN.

Kamarulzaman says Mutiara will be offered for sale. He says Mutiara was still good enough to do anything the new owners might want to do with her.

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2203 Articles
Shah Alam


  1. Would love to see the decommissioning pennant flying, all 189.3m of it!

    They broke it up in three parts….

  2. What will happen to Mutiara? Sold as scrap? Target for live fire exercise?

    It will be tendered out for sale. What the new owners will do with her its up to then

  3. Better sunk it as artificial reef

    It will take a lot of money to drain all of the fluids from the ship. Even if they got RM1 million from the tender it will be a profit

  4. Nimitz,

    Perantau [an ex Ton minesweeper] was fired upon by a MM-38 and Sotong was bought by a Singaporean company.

    Whilst the RMN [not because it wants to but because of funding issues] desires for survey work to be completely outsourced or privatised; it really remains to be seen how satisfactory this approach will turn out to be. Like doing away with dedicated MCMVs and relying on MCM modules; there remains quite a bit of scepticism whether outsourcing our survey needs will be the right move.

  5. If its running cost is RM44.5mil per year which even TLDM can’t afford, I highly doubt any commercial parties will willing to bid for her and keep her running. Probably TLDM doesn’t want to say it directly, but the chances are it will be tendered out for scrap. Lotsa navies does that all the time, so its no shame really.

  6. joe – ”If its running cost is RM44.5mil per year which even TLDM can’t afford”

    Depends. A new owner would want to look at how much it will cost to refurbish her and it depends on what the new owner intends to use her for. The RMN has decided that spending extra cash on her is not worth it but a different owner might think otherwise. Sotong [smaller than Mutiara] was an aged and high mileage ship but she found a new owner. Then again maybe the condition she’s in would mean that nobody would be interested.

    joe – ” Probably TLDM doesn’t want to say it directly”

    Why wouldn’t the RMN not ”want to say it directly”? I can’t think of any reason.

  7. @Azlan
    Well, whatever the MAF says or do nowadays is a tetchy subject and can be misconstrued by politicians and even ‘influential’ armchair warriors. I hazard a guess that some might be sentimental or seeking career mileage by playing the gallery on losing another TLDM ship, seeing that we don’t have many in the 1st place. The loss of Inderapura is case in point.

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