Our new guardians of the sea

Our new guardians of the sea
MARITIME SECURITY: The Patrol Interdiction Boat (white) and the second-generation PK Class High Speed Interceptor.
PHOTO: The New Paper

When it comes to piracy and smuggling, some maritime criminals shake off the authorities by charging onto shore from the water.

Their small boats are mobile enough to let them do this without the need to anchor. But this method may no longer be possible, with the new Patrol Interdiction Boat.

The Police Coast Guard (PCG)'s latest vehicle was unveiled yesterday at a commissioning ceremony at the PCG Headquarters on Brani Island.

This boat has beaching capabilities, which means it can charge directly onto land from the sea without using other equipment. It also allows the four-man crew to quickly disembark and reach the culprits.

The ability to go on different terrain immediately will enable the Patrol Interdiction Boat to stop coastal attacks faster.

Previously, PCG vessels carried smaller boats that it would have to launch for its officers to reach land, which slowed them down.

"This could have taken up to five minutes, which is quite some time," said Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Desmond Ong, who is also the PCG's Special Task Squadron Commanding Officer.

The boat boasts a new Stabilised Naval Gun System, which is more accurate.

Another boat revealed by the PCG was the new second-generation PK Class High Speed Interceptor.

These interceptors are designed to cut off high-speed smuggling boats. PCG said that these boats can travel at up to 92 kmh.

The new boats are designed to stop illegal immigrants and smugglers who have become more well-equipped and organised by employing decoys and camouflage, said PCG.

Superintendent of Police Seraju Deen, who is the Commanding Officer of Brani Regional Base, added: "There are possibilities of them (illegal immigrants and smugglers) reaching our shorelines.

"If they can penetrate into our lines, there is a way for us to engage them."

COMBAT INTRUDERS

The new PK class boats, which will be operated by the Special Task Squadron, were also enhanced to better combat the threat of intruders.

These interceptor boats are powered by twin high-powered inboard engines and are capable of travelling at speeds of greater than 101kmh.

Previous PK boats, which were made 20 years ago, could only reach speeds of 92kmh.

The PCG said that smuggling boats were matching this speed.

Its spokesman said: "Some small boats can put multiple engines on board, so they can reach up to incredible speeds."

By February next year, 11 new Patrol Interdiction boats and six new PK boats will be fully commissioned. It has so far received four of each.

At the boats' commissioning yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said the new additions' presence in our waters would be significant as more than 130,000 ships call at our port annually.

He said the distance between Singapore's shoreline and our international boundary is less than 500m in some places.

Mr Teo added that last year, the PCG arrested 46 illegal immigrants trying to enter by sea and prevented more than 7,000 suspicious vessels from intruding into our waters

harizbah@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on July 22, 2015.
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