KUALA LUMPUR: The Marine Department is proposing to build a radar station in the South China Sea to ensure the area is free from any criminal activities.
Director-General Baharin Abdul Hamid said the initiative was a measure to raise the level of security in national waters in the South China Sea.
“However, the construction of a radar station is still at the discussion stage and is expected to be included in the 11th Malaysia Plan,” he told Bernama on the sidelines of the 8th International Conference on the Straits of Malacca here today.
The two-day conference, which began today, is being attended by 100 participants, including from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, China and Pakistan.
Baharin said the radar could detect suspicious ships in national waters and channel information to the authorities for further action.
The South China Sea is not exempted from being targets of criminals and pirates from time to time, he said.
“The latest being MT Orkim Harmony which went missing last year in the South China Sea,” he said.
MT Orkim Harmony, which was carrying 6,000 tonnes of RON95 petrol belonging to Petronas, was seized at 8.57pm on June 11 2015, about 30 nautical miles from Tanjung Sedili in Johor, in Malaysian waters.
The oil tanker, which was on its way from Malacca to Kuantan Port in Pahang and carrying 22 crew members comprising 16 Malaysians, five Indonesians and a Myanmar, was spotted by an Australian Air Force plane in the Gulf of Thailand on June 17.
Eight suspects were later detained by Vietnamese authorities near Tho Chu Island, south of Vietnam on June 19.