KUALA LUMPUR, May 9 – The Defence Ministry will table a proposal on the implementation of the sea-basing system before the Cabinet as soon as possible in an effort to strengthen security off Sabah waters. Its minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the sea-basing system entailed deployment of military assets in the middle of the ocean to facilitate operations in Sabah waters quickly.

“The sea-basing concept infers to deployment of interceptor boats offshore from the parent operation platform such the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) auxiliary ships belonging to the Malaysian International Shipping Corporation (MISC), namely Bunga Mas 5 and Bunga Mas 6. “The parent platform together with other platforms can provide support such as refuelling and supplying water to interceptor boats so that they do not have to return to bases to save time and costs.

“It also provides accommodation and meals for crew of the 24 interceptor boats, a helipad, medical facilities and a forward operation centre,” he said in a statement here today. Navy chief Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar yesterday said the proposed sea-basing concept involved the placement of navy vessels and personnel, including the creation of a small naval base offshore, that could intercept unknown ships or intruders far from the country’s coastlines.

He said that under the system, strategic areas would be fortified to combat abductions and intrusion. Hishammuddin said Bunga Mas 5 and Bunga Mas 6 vessels were used by the navy to perform specific tasks, including accompanying MISC Berhad vessels passing through the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Currently, Bunga Mas 6 is still involved in the ensuing search for the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines MH370 in southern Indian Ocean while Bunga Mas 5 has just returned to the Lumut naval base upon completion of ‘Ops Fajar’, he said. Hishammuddin said both ships were able to stay at sea for a long period and use other platforms, including oil and gas rigs in the middle of the ocean, which had basically been offered as naval platforms.

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