Thu, 04 Aug 1994

New fast boats for coast guards

JAKARTA (JP): The Navy received four new fast patrol boats yesterday which it will deploy for its coast guard units' drive against smuggling and illegal fishing.

The boats, built by a local shipbuilding company, PT. Mahayala Utama, are not equipped with guns but can travel non-stop for 15 hours and have a maximum speed of 32 knots per hour. Each can carry 14 passengers.

The boats, which cost Rp 170 million ($80,000) apiece, will be deployed as part of the Eastern Armada and Western Armada units to patrol areas near Jakarta, Surabaya and along the coast of Kalimantan, Commodore Mahdi Joesoef of the Navy said yesterday during the ceremony for the transfer of the boats at Jakarta Bay.

The shipbuilding company can certainly look to brisk business, estimating that Indonesia needs between 200 and 300 fast patrol boats to protect its coasts.

The government is currently considering setting up local coast guard units in various spots with the chief task of putting an end to the destruction of coral reefs and mangroves by fishermen using explosives.

The lack of boats has often been cited as the prime cause for the continued illegal fishing in Indonesian waters, piracy and smuggling, Anthony Budi, the director of PT. Mahalaya Utama said during the ceremony held on Pulau Air.

The company also has received orders from the National Police Force, the Customs office and the Ministry of Transportation, Anthony said, stressing that his boats are competitively priced. (rms)