Three Months and its RM14 million Folks…

KUALA LUMPUR: The story from Bernama below explains everything. Military operations are not cheap, not even peace keeping missions. That is why we must be frugal in these trying times. Furthermore, the money spent is the short-term cost alone, and wont involved the long term costs of maintaining those ships and other equipment well beyond their operating age. And I believed the amount does not cover the ransom paid for the MISC crews…..

–Malaysian Defence

Navy’s ‘Ops Fajar’ In Aden Gulf Cost RM14.6 Million

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 19 (Bernama) — The government spent RM14.6 million to finance the operations of Malaysian navy vessels under ‘Ops Fajar’ from Sept 4 to Dec 31 last year in the Gulf of Aden, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said.

“The government is aware that the cost of quite high but it is relatively very small compared to the loss that has to be borne if the country’s cargo ships were seized by pirates.

“This is because the country’s trade sector which relies on imports and exports using cargo ships is considered a strategic interest with a value of RM92.1 billion in 2008,” he said in a written reply to Hee Loy Sian (PKR-Petaling Jaya Selatan) in the Dewan Rakyat Thursday.

‘Ops Fajar’ was launched after MISC Berhad’s MT Bunga Melati Dua vessel which was heading for Rotterdam from Dumai in Sumatra with 39 crew was hijacked by heavily-armed pirates off the coast of Somalia on Aug 19 last year.

Ten days later another MISC vessel, MT Bunga Melati Lima, with 36 crew experienced a similar fate in the same waters.

Nazri said the ransom to secure the release of the MT Bunga Melati Dua and Lima was paid by the company and did not involve government funds.

“In line with the recommendation of the International Maritime Organisation and other international bodies, the amount of ransom paid by MISC had to be kept confidential to avoid the risk of higher ransom demands and to the lives of the crew of merchant ships plying risk areas in the Gulf of Aden,” he said.

He said the government was also working together with shipping companies and international organisations to identify long term measures to contain the pirate threat in the Gulf of Aden.

“The ongoing pirate threat will surely adversely affect the future of the country’s shipping industry which largely depends on the waters.

“Any route change will increase costs and shipping time besides exposing merchant ships to other security threats,” he said.

— BERNAMA

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15 Comments

  1. Money well spent when compared to 15 million on police logistics for the KT by election.

    Marhalim: Well said, if one look from this view point. How much of that money was paid for the OT of the bodyguards? But one must remember that creative govt officers had always used this type of express funding to procure things that had been in the books for some time but never really got the green light for purchases (tenders take such a long time) so it may well be that not all of the RM15 million was spent for the by election.

  2. I don’t understand why the military must pay a ransom to Somali pirates! The money will just make them stronger.

    Marhalim: simply because a rescue operation could cost more money! Anyway we lack several platforms to conduct a proper rescue operation.

  3. The govt can recover those 14 million spent easily from MISC. Ask for more dividend…for a company that is doing between RM500 mil to RM1 billion PBT a year, an additional RM100 mill to cover the cost of its safety whole year round by the navy should not be seen as a major issues. Its majority owned by Petronas and Petronas majority owned by MOF…so what is the fuss?

    Marhalim: Yes the short term (immediate) cost for the operations could be easily recouped from MISC. I believed even the navy chief had said something that perhaps MISC should pay for the protection but what happened if their ships get hijacked anyway? Its a big ocean. The bigger issue is of course the long term cost of maintaining the ships and other equipment for their extended operations. Will it be reflected in the next budget?

  4. So the question remains….. Are any other RMN ships to be sent again? For a fleet the size of the RMN, sending even 1 or 2 ships on a foreign deployment is bound to have an averse effect on operational need at home. Not to mention the wear and tear, plus costs.

    More interestingly, from photos released, it appears that the Inderapura had an AS-61 onboard. Or was it just an S-61 painted in white? The only way to tell will by its regristration numbers.

  5. This is why we have a Navy and Armed Forces. Fajar on as they say.

    The USN pretty much got started as a blue-water force to protect US shipping in the Med against the predations of the Barbary Coast pirates. As a trading and mercantile nation, we need to be able to protect our merchant vessels from the ravages of piracy both far and near.

    One consequence of the Barbary Wars was the establishment of the USMC. I wonder if the Navy will establish an expeditionary naval landing capability now? Every time I ask a CoN if they will establish one, they just keep mum and smile.

    To the shores of Eyl…….

    Marhalim: The problem is that we cant really afford such luxuries it is expensive enough to watch our own backyard…

  6. If our navy are not going to be sent there then there’s a probability that our shipping company plying the Gulf will be hiring PMC to fill up the gap. However, PMC is not cheap and may cost even more. Besides, the issue of reliablity and credibility may come into question.

    If the PMC alternative is to be the game of the day then I’m awfully concern that such premise will be the justification to allow the PMC to operate within the Straits of Malacca since the area is also still having problem with piracy even though its not as severe as before.

    Remember the incident which happen in Port Klang some years ago when a PMC vessel doing some sort of training without the GOM having notice their present and activity? That’s way back during the time when Llyods puts the status of war zone to Straits of Malacca because of high cases of piracy back then.

    What ever decisions made regarding the fate of Ops Fajar, it should be based on deep thoughts and considerations with emphasis on its effect to our country interest. I would rather spending my money on something justifiable such as Ops Fajar rather than wasting it into something which is futile and inlogical such as trying to fulfil some megalomaniac’s political agenda who doesn’t care anything about the fate of this country and its people beside than his own guts.

  7. Its surprising to know a PMC was in our water without the gov having notice their present and activity. People should question about our radar reliability and capability. How could this happen without the MAF noticed or detected of the presence of foreign unauthorized vessel? Were we sleeping or its just they’ve got far more advance system that jammed our radar? If the answer is yes,perhaps all those millions of dollar spent on surveillance radar is useless. Maybe its just cosmetic improvement.

    We need to strengthen our navy.As a littoral nation that surrounded by seas the needs for a very strong and capable navy is critical. History have taught us that every strong nation/empire had a strong navy. From the ancient Greeks to Roman Empire,Caliphates Empire to western colonies such as British Empire,all these nations had a very strong navy.Even our own history taught us that Malacca had a very strong navy by the tails of Laksamana Hang Tuah and His Colleagues.

    The navy is our first line of defense.We need a strong navy as deterrence in any conflict before it reaches the shore and land,to minimize damages because when it reaches the land one could imagine the damage with all those technological advance weapons now-a-day.

  8. Building a complete and strng navy, with the necessary compliment of FFG, OPV, subs, airwings and support vessel is a dream all government in the world would like to have, of course except the US as they seems to have everything and more plus a multi trillion dollar budget deficit. Reality wise we dont have the spending power and We just have to be multi creative just as the brazilian does. I somehow admire them as they being able to get more bang from a buck, when it comes to defense spending. The 1960’s ex french carrier still running with them, the F5 were upgraded with good BVR capability just to name a few.

    My preference would be more for the airforce as if there is any potential conflict, a few armed jets can be more faster despatched to a conflict scene than an FFG. Just my two cents worth

  9. Its not surprising at all. Hundreds of ships ply the straits every day. 2 years ago I was in the Malacca Straits and I was very surprised at the amount of traffic. We keep reading about how busy the straits are, but until one really sees it, its hard to believe.

    How is one supposed to make out that 1 amongst hundreds of ships is a PMC ship. The RMAF only has 4 Beechcraft to patrol the Malacca Straits, South China Sea and East Malaysia. And for a navy the size of the RMN, it is only expected that a mere handful of ships will be on patrol at any given time. The new RMN base at Langkawi goes a lomg way towards imptoving security in the area, the problem is there’s still the same number of patrol assets in the area. And no UAVs at the moment.

  10. I was reading that the Brazilian Navy acquired the old French Foch aircraft carrier at a bargain price of $12 million USD in 2000, no aircraft included!!

    Marhalim: Big second hand ships are cheap but a pain to maintain….

  11. I think its RM14.6 million well spent. Good experience and higher profile for MAF.

    Marhalim: I totally agree, I am just hoping the odd RM20++ (plus the cost for Jan and Feb) are factored into the next budget, otherwise….

  12. Does the security forces ever consider using a blimp(s) for monitoring the malacca strait? I know that it wasn’t fashionable or cool looking, but I was under the impression that it would be cheaper than acquiring aircrafts for patrol/loiter duty, at least in the short term. Get one over Port Dickson / Tg Tuan, and watch how many smugglers ply the trade between indonesia & malaysia…

    Marhalim: Not so far as I know…

  13. The USCG uses blimps in Florida to track low flying planes.

    A question here to everyone on Ops Fajar. I’m a bit confused about the various reports written about Ops Fajar. Correct me if I’m wrong please, here goes….

    First it was the Lekiu and Inderapura that was sent, followed by the Mahawangsa.
    Then the Indera Sakti was sent. Was the Indera Sakti sent out to because the Lekiu, Inderapura and
    Mahawangsa were then on their way home? Or were the Lekiu, Inderapura and Mahawangsa already back in Lumut when the Indera Sakti was sent? I’m assuming here that the Lekiu had a Lynx onboard and that the Nuri was on the Inderapura.

    About the helicopters…. The Fennec that saved the Chinese ship was from the Indera Sakti right?Was it accompanied by another heli? Some reports say only a single Fennec was involved, others say 2 were there. I doubt if the landing deck on the Indera Sakti can accommadate 2 helis.

    Marhalim: I am also confused with the timeline and the ships involved…..

  14. Actually Mahawangsa stayed on station while Inderapura and Lekiu came back, Indera Sakti then went out to replace Mahawangsa and changeover took place in Gulf Of Aden, one fennec with Indera Sakti if I recall correctly from the Navy press release given out in January on Inderasakti’s activities

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