22 Oktober 2015

Scientists Urge Conversion of Ships into Military Bases to Protect Territorial Waters

22 Oktober 2015

Malaysia's seabase (photo : Hishamuddin, BAreport)

VietNamNet Bridge - Upgrading ships and turning them into mobile military bases, which Malaysia is doing, is within Vietnamese reach, scientists say.

Malaysia announced it has successfully turned over a transport vessel into a mobile military base, which can operate for a long time on the open sea.

Malaysian media reported that the vessel is Tun Azizan, a civil transport ship, which has been converted into a military base by order of the Malaysian navy.

Tun Azizan is the first mobile military base in South East Asia. It now can contain 99 people and provide necessary facilities, including accommodation, food storage, clothes washing room, a communication & operation room, electricity system, air conditioners, clean water and military infrastructure items.

Commenting about the move, Vietnamese maritime experts said this could also be implemented by Vietnam. They stressed that Vietnam has many things available to do this.

Regarding technical issues, Do Thai Binh, deputy chair of the Vietnam Shipbuilding Science Association, said engineers would have to re-design the ships on the basis of the original design when upgrading the ships for other purposes. 

However, this is expected to not be a complicated work because all ships have their “profiles”.

An analyst noted that there are many ways to make profits from old ships, rather than selling them as scrap iron. In Thailand, they can be sunk to serve sea tourism, and In France, large ships are converted into sea prisons. Liaoning aircraft carrier was once an amusement park.

He thinks that turning large transport ships into maritime bases would be the best choice for Vietnam. The bases will not only serve national defence, but also help fishermen in their offshore fishing.

When asked what ships can be used for the conversion, Binh said many old ships owned by Vinashin (the Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group) and the large ships that Vinalines (Vietnam National Shipping Lines) plans to give as payment for its debts.

Phan Vinh Tri, a renowned navigation expert, also noted that Vietnam can take full advantage of the unused ships, including newly built ones. 

The ships will degrade rapidly if they are not put into use, and therefore, the ships’ owners are considering demolishing or selling them. However, Tri saidthey should be converted for other purposes. 

Tri thinks that it would be better to set up  “mobile islands” on the sea border area, which could be a couple of ships converted into general complexes for fishing logistics, communication, hydrometeorology, marine scientific research, search and rescue and marine police.

He has also suggested sinking old dry docks to create military bases, which the Philippines has done.


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