Saturday, July 25, 2015

New, enhanced boats to better intercept intruders

By Denise Lee

Over time, illegal immigrants, smugglers and terrorists have become more sophisticated in their game.
Some use decoys, faster boats and piracy tactics, and make dangerous maneuvers to evade arrest.
In 2014 alone, the Police Coast Guard (PCG) arrested 46 illegal immigrants and prevented more than 7,000 suspicious vessels from intruding Singapore’s waters.
To improve the Police’s interception of these maritime intruders, the PCG launched a new fleet of Patrol Interdiction Boats (PIB) and 2nd Generation PK Class High Speed Interceptors (2nd Gen PK) today (21 July 2015) at a naming and commissioning ceremony held at the PCG headquarters in Pulau Brani.

The PIB can travel upwards of 45 knots and is equipped with a Stabilised Naval Gun System that can track targets automatically. PHOTO: Christopher Chen

The new PIB can travel above 45 knots (or 80km/h) and features a beaching ramp that allows PCG officers to dismount on land quickly and pursue their targets if they get to shore.
It is also equipped with shock-mitigating seats, armoured protection against armed attacks and a Stabilised Naval Gun System with increased shooting accuracy to disable the engine of intruding boats.

PIB performing a series of sharp turns during the a sea demonstration. : Christopher Chen
The 2nd Gen PK interceptors are propelled by twin high-powered engines that boast a speed upwards of 55 knots (100km/h), compared to the earlier generation boats’ top speed of 45 knots.
Made of reinforced marine-grade aluminium, these high-speed interceptors can withstand hard impact and have improved maneuverability to pursue high-speed vessels with ease.
The reduced engine noise emissions and lowered profile of the boats help minimise detection by targets too.

2nd Gen PK interceptor firing flares and chasing an intruder boat during the sea demonstration. PHOTO: Mabel Yap

“The 2nd Gen PK interceptor was custom built with inputs from the users and the boat builders. The improved functions of the interceptors enhance the operational capabilities of the Special Task Squadron in dealing with the ever evolving high-speed threats intruding our waters,” said Assistant Superintendent Desmond Ong, Commanding Officer of the Special Task Squadron.
The PIBs are used by PCG officers for routine patrols while the 2nd Gen PK interceptors are operated by the Special Task Squadron and deployed in emergency situations such as deliberate ambushes.
In all, 11 PIBs and six 2nd Gen PK interceptors will be added to the PCG’s current fleet by February 2016.

DPM Teo commissioning the PIB and 2nd Gen PK interceptor during the ceremony. His wife, Mrs Teo Chee Hean (second from left), christened the PIB “Atlantic Ray” and the 2nd Gen PK interceptor “White Marlin”. PHOTO: Mabel Yap

In his speech at the commissioning ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security and Minister for Home Affairs Mr Teo Chee Hean said that the large number and variety of vessels in our waters, coupled with our lack of maritime space, pose challenges to Singapore’s maritime security forces.
“The PCG’s new boats will provide our officers with significantly improved interception capabilities. Working closely together, the PCG and Singapore’s maritime agencies strengthen our ability to safeguard our waters and sea borders for the benefit of Singaporeans and the international shipping community,” he said.

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