LIMA'17: PM receives, renames OPV gifted by Japanese government

HANI SHAMIRA SHAHRUDIN

LANGKAWI: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today officiated the renaming of the JCG PL 02 Erimo Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) to KM Pekan.

Najib graced the special ceremony at the maritime venue of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace 2017 (LIMA’17) exhibition.

The Prime Minister also spent about an hour onboard the OPV to inspect the modifications and upgrades installed before it sailed from Japan to Malaysia.

The KM Pekan was handed over to Malaysia by the Japanese government as one of two gift vessels symbolising the strong bilateral ties between the two countries.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director-general Datuk Ahmad Fuzi Kahar said Malaysia appreciates the gift of the vessels, as they also demonstrate Japan’s commitment to helping ensure the peace, security and prosperity of the country.

"The MMEA has decided that the KM Pekan will be stationed in the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency’s eastern region, in Kuantan, to safeguard the South China Sea," he said.

Fuzi said the Japanese government had generously offered aid in addition to the two OPVs, and had even borne the cost of modification of the two vessels, which amounted to RM28 million.

"The 25-year-old KM Pekan was modified, including the paint, to MMEA’s vessels' colour; change of radar, radio, Digital Echo Sounder and Direction Finder, in line with Malaysia's specifications," he said.

The KM Pekan is capable of conducting patrols for up to 30 days, and will be especially suitable for the South China Sea and Sabah east coast.

The second OPV is expected to reach Malaysia in April, and will likely be stationed in Sabah.