Malaysia can build hi-tech fishing vessels — deputy minister

Sim (sixth from left) accompanied by Dr Teo (on Sim’s right) and other guests, including Bob (on Sim’s left) and his wife (in red blouse), giving their thumbs-up.

By Brad Rantayy

MIRI, Jan 16: Australian couple Mr and Mrs Bob Instey flew here to take delivery of their RM4 million shrimp trawler today.

The hi-tech fishing vessel, which measures 18.3m long, 6m wide and 3m deep and can host six crew members, is built by Sarawak Slipways Sdn Bhd.

The company, with its dockyard at the Piasau Industrial Estate, has also built a RM4 million fishing trawler for Queensland-based firm BA Titan. BA-Titan will take delivery of their vessel later.

In fact, Ba-Titan had bought three similar vessels from Sarawak Slipways previously.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Sim Tze Tzin, who witnessed the handing-over of the vessel to Bob, who is a fisherman, said the sales proved that Malaysia had the capability to build hi-tech fishing vessels.

“This is proven today, where two of our locally made fishing vessels are purchased by foreign buyers,” he said at Sarawak Slipways’ dockyard.

“The vessels are equipped with modern technology, and they are on par with the standard set by the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS).”

Sim told those present that his ministry planned to transform the fishing industry into a modern one using hi-tech fishing vessels. This would enable fishermen to earn more from this sector.

“We know that fishery resources are going down. The only way is to use high technology. These technologies can detect where the fish are, so you can go straight to the spot identified. This saves time and gets a better catch,” he said.

For the deepsea fishing sector, he said the plan was to replace wooden fishing vessels with modern ones.

“We have 15 government agencies and private companies working together to support our modernisation programme for the fishing industry in the country,” Sim revealed.

Those agencies include Fisheries Development Authority (LKIM), Agro Bank, Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida), Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology (MiGHT), Persatuan Nelayan Kebangsaan (NEKMAT), Recognised Organisation (RO) and Ship Designer.

Also present at today’s event were Miri MP Dr Michael Teo, Sarawak Slipways’s executive director (Technical) Roger Chew Pak Kan and project engineer Chew Soon Kong. — DayakDaily