21 Agustus 2014
Sipadan class patrol vessel (photo : MMEA)
KUALA TERENGGANU (Bernama) -- Five decommissioned Sipadan Class patrol vessels of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) were Tuesday handed over to the Department of Marine Parks to serve as artificial reefs in the waters of selected islands of the country.
MMEA deputy director-general (Operations), Vice Admiral (M) Datuk Ahmad Puzi Ab Kahar said the five vessels were KM Siamil, KM Sempadi, KM Bidong, KM Jarak and KM Ligitan which would be submerged in tbe waters of Pulau Perhentian and Pulau Redang (Terengganu), Pulau Payar in Langkawi and Pulau Mersing, Johor.
He said these ships had previously been used by the Royal Malaysian Navy but were handed over to MMEA in 2005 for enforcement operations.
"Overall, these patrol vessels had been in service at sea for 46 years before being decommissioned and handed over to the Department of Marine Parks Malaysia to serve as artificial reefs.
"They will from now benefit the local community, particularly the local fishermen because as artificial reefs, the submerged vessels will be suitable habitats for fish protection and breeding," he said after the handing-over ceremony at the Kuala Terengganu MMEA office, here. Meanwhile, Department of Marine Parks deputy director-general Kamarruddin Ibrahim said the department had before this received two retired MMEA patrol vessels to serve as artificial reefs in the waters of Pulau Tioman in Pahang and Labuan.
He said the existence of more of such artificial reefs as fish habitats could also attract tourists, especially scuba divers, to the country's marine parks.
"For example, the MMEA vessel-turned-artificial reef has become a new tourist attraction at the Pulau Tioman Marine Park, drawing about 7,200 people to the site last year," he added.