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Malaysia recommissions retired patrol boats amid dearth of assets

Royal Malaysian Navy KD Sri Sabah and KD Sri Sarawak , seen here at the vessels' recommisioning ceremony. (Royal Malaysian Navy)

Malaysia has recommissioned two modified Kris-class patrol boats that were retired in the mid-2000s as its navy continues to reconcile increasing operational requirements with a lack of assets.

These vessels, which are now in service as KD Sri Sabah (46) and KD Sri Sarawak (48), were re-inducted in a recommissioning ceremony at the Royal Malaysian Navy's (RMN's) Tanjung Gelang Naval Base on 19 January.

Sri Sabah and Sri Sarawak were first inducted into the RMN in 1966. The vessels were subsequently transferred to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) in 2006 after being retired from naval service.

Both vessels were once again transferred to the RMN in 2019 and made to undergo refurbishment works at local shipbuilder MSET Shipbuilding Corporation from 2020 at Kuala Terengganu. The RMN has not responded to questions from Janes on what the refit constitutes.

However, in a statement released by the service on 19 January citing its chief, Admiral Abdul Rahman bin Ayob, the RMN described the recommissioning of both Sri Sabah and Sri Sarawak as interim measures to fulfil operational requirements that are growing more challenging.

Furthermore, the recommissioning is not part of the service's long-term development plans, which will focus on the acquisition of new assets, the statement added. In his reply to questions from the media at the recommissioning ceremony, Adm Abdul Rahman disclosed that the refurbishment cost approximately MYR18 million (USD3.8 million).

The Kris class has an overall length of 31.4 m and displaces about 111 tonnes at full load. The boats were built by Vosper at its Portsmouth facility and can each accommodate a crew complement of 23.

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