RMNlanding craft catches fire
Short-circuit cause of blaze, says defence minister
LUMUT: The Royal Malaysian Navy’s biggest landing craft, KD Sri Inderapura, caught fire while berthed at the naval base here.
The vessel, which was scheduled to transport logistic goods to the Markas Wilayah Laut Dua in Kota Kinabalu on Monday, caught fire at about 6.30am yesterday.
Firemen were trying to put out the fire from the naval docking yard and from a boat on the sea, assisted by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, local tugboats and employees from the Boustead Naval Shipyard.
As at 3pm, smoke was still seen billowing from the vessel as firemen continued to fight the blaze.
The seventy-seven crew members, including six officers and 22 trainees, who were on duty on board the ship during the incident, were not injured.
This is the second time the navy vessel has caught fire. The first was in 2002.
The KD Sri Inderapura was built in 1970 and had been used by the United States Navy after it was commissioned as the USS Spartanburg County.
On Dec 16, 1994, the ship was handed over to the Malaysian navy.
It was one of several navy vessels that had escorted Malaysian trading ships against pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden in Somalia last year.
In Port Dickson, Bernama reported Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying that the Government would propose to buy a new landing craft to replace KD Sri Inderapura as the 40-year-old vessel could no longer be used.
Zahid said initial report showed the fire to have been caused by a short-circuit.
He said a detailed probe was being carried out by an investigation board that had been set up to identify the cause of the fire.
Blazing fire: KD Sri Inderapura on fire at the Lumut Naval base yesterday.