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MISC container vessel transformed into anti-pirate naval auxiliary

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian shipping company MISC has turned one its feeder ships into an auxiliary naval vessel for combating Somali pirates, writes Anderimar Shipping News. The move follows last year's hijacking of MISC tankers Bunga Melati Dua and Bunga Melati 5 in the gulf.

A company statement says: "MISC Berhad, in collaboration with the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) and the National Security Council (NSC), has successfully modified its container ship Bunga Mas Lima into a RMN Auxiliary Vessel for the purpose of escorting and protecting MISC's ships sailing through the Gulf of Aden."

The 699teu Bunga Mas Lima, is the first Malaysian merchant ship to be modified as an Auxiliary Vessel and is first such conversion reported in connection with the build-up of warships from many countries off the Somali coast.

 The modification work was carried out by Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering Sdn Bhd (MMHE), the heavy engineering arm of MISC, at MMHE's yard in Pasir Gudang, Johor.

In response to the MISC tanker hijacking incidents the RMN launched operation Fajar (Dawn), a rescue, escort and protection mission, with the aim of ensuring the safe passage of all MISC vessels in the Gulf of Aden. The RMN has since sent five ships in support of Fajar.  [02/06/09]

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