Government To Utilise Abandoned Petronas Oil Rigs As ESSZone FOB

(Bernama) – The government will utilise abandoned Petronas oil rigs located around the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) as a forward operation base (FOB).

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said the ministry and the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) were in the process of identifying the oil rigs that were appropriately located near the border.

“We will reveal later as to the number of abandoned oil rigs that would be converted into FOBs. In the meantime we will deploy security boats or ships,” he told reporters after handing over 30 Rigid Hull Fender Boats (RHFB) to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who is also ESSCom chairman, at the Marine Police operations base here Thursday.

Meanwhile, Musa said the establishment of ESSCom and gazetting of ESSZone would have no positive impact without integrated action to ensure that the land and waters off Sabah’s east coast were free from all forms of threats and intrusions.

“The people must also help the security agencies not only through providing moral support but by channelling relevant information that could help to thwart any potential intrusion and threat to the country,” he said.

Meanwhile, National Security Council secretary Datuk Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab said the government spent RM50.76 million to procure the 30 RHFBs supplied by four local companies.

He disclosed the companies as MSET Inflatable Composit Sdn Bhd which was awarded a RM17.64 million contract to supply nine RHFBs to the Malaysian Armed Forces; Kay Marine Sdn Bhd (nine RHFBs worth RM17.58 million for the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency); Dalac Marine Engineering and Services Sdn Bhd (six RHFBs worth RM7.79 million for Marine Police); and Destination Marine Services Sdn Bhd (six RHFBs worth RM7.75 million for the Marine Police).

He said the high-powered boats were bullet proof, equipped with modern specifications and had a speed of 50 knots (92.6 km) per hour.

“The boats are also equipped with a situation awareness system, which is a combination of the Forward Looking Infra Red system and radar that could detect and intercept intrusions,” he said.

Thajudeen said the crew underwent training early last month and were ready to be mobilised at any time.