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…..
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.
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