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'Malaysia's location ideal for search & rescue regional centre'
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is ideally suited as a regional centre for search and rescue (SAR) operations, given its strategic location.
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency deputy director-general (operations) Maritime Rear-Admiral Datuk Ahmad Puzi Abdul Kahar said having such a centre for Southeast Asia, particularly to cover the Straits of Malacca and the South China Sea, would be ideal.
This was in view of the large number of vessels that ply these routes, he added.
“For instance, the straits alone caters for some 77,000 commercial ships annually, not to mention the hordes of fishing and military vessels that pass through daily,” he said.
SAR missions were emergency and pre-emptive procedures undertaken over land and sea to save lives and properties.
“Such missions are also vital to secure the safe passage of vessels, as has been evident in the number of anti-piracy, smuggling and terrorism campaigns undertaken by multi-national teams in the past,” he said.
On the MMEA, he said since it was set up in 2006, it has saved 2,400 lives at sea and carried out more than 77,000 boarding-inspections and drills of vessels to verify their legitimacy, safety and security.
“This has helped to avert disasters and check crime like piracy, terrorism and illegal fishing.
“We have managed to bring down the number of cases to 124, which is three times lesser this year compared to the previous year,” he said at the opening of the ‘2nd International Search and Rescue Conference and Exhibition’ at the Royale Chulan Hotel yesterday.