Saturday, 30 March 2013

Lima visitors tour Malaysian, Thai and Bangladeshi naval vessels

Opportunity to be on board a naval ship is rare and many visitors to the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (Lima) 2013 grabbed the chance to be in one.

Thousands of visitors walked some 200m under a blazing sun to the Resorts World Langkawi jetty in Porto Malai to tour three naval ships docked there for the public.

The three were KD Jebat, BNS Dhaleswari from Bangladesh and HTMS Phuket from Thailand.

The KD Jebat was the most popular as its crew were tasked to accompany visitors on a tour of the warship.

Commissioned to the Royal Malaysian Navy in 1999, it weighs 2,060 tonnes and is 106m in length.

KD Jebat is equipped with guns, missiles, torpedoes and radar, and can conduct surface, air and undersea combat operations.

It has participated in the Ops Daulat mission in Sabah, providing surveillance.

Hotel worker Mohd Aiman Abdullah said he had visited Lima several times but this was his first time on board a naval ship.

The 30-year-old from Langkawi brought his wife and five children along.

“Previously, I had only seen the air show,” he said.

“I feel proud and fortunate to be on board KD Jebat and given first-hand explanation on how it operates,” he said yesterday.

College students Erick Ling, 21, and Ling Kuo Ern, 22, from Perlis said they were awed by the ship.

“We have seen warships in news and movies and it's definitely amazing to be on one,” Erick said.

Restaurant supervisor P. Vijian, 51, also from Langkawi, said he had previously been on board some ships during past Lima events but KD Jebat was the biggest he had visited.

He was with his wife M. Mageswari, 49, and their son V. Sivabalan, 15.

“I'm happy to be able to tour this ship and I think the public should not miss this chance to see how the crew put their lives at risk to protect our nation,” he said.

Free ferry rides took visitors for a closer look at 25 other naval ships from nine countries, including Malaysia, anchored nearby.

Naval ships that are open for public tour today are the Marshal Shaposhnikov from Russia, BNS Dhaleswari from Bangladesh and HTMS Phuket from Thailand.

Meanwhile, jet enthusiasts were also spotted gathering at the open space outside the Mahsuri Interna-tional Exhibition Centre (MIEC) where the daily aerial shows are held.

Among them was sales manager Khairil Anuar Mustapha, who said he could make out the jets by their specifications.

“I'm an aero-modeller and I build radio-controlled jets and helicopters as a hobby,” said the 50-year-old.

“I have the Eurofighter Typhoon and Gripen jets in my collection. My next project is to build the Rafale fighter.”

The father-of-six from Kuala Lumpur said he hardly missed Lima since its debut in 1991.

Also spotted with his binoculars was government servant Alias Yahya, 50, also from Kuala Lumpur, who said he brought his son, Aleef, nine, to visit Lima for the first time.

“This is an amazing holiday for Aleef,” he said.

The Lima exhibition at MIEC is open to the public today and tomorrow.

Tickets are priced at RM10 for adults and RM5 for children, while the maritime demonstration and ships visitation at Resorts World Langkawi in Porto Malai are free.


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