Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Rizal Ramli said it is time for Indonesia to control the ship market in Asia with its capability to build modern warships.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has an ambition to make Indonesia, in which two-third of its territories are water, a maritime axis and a major ship builder.

"Ordering (ships) abroad will no longer be allowed. Why should we order abroad, while we are already able to build them?" he asked during a dialog with shipbuilding industrialists at PT Anggrek Hitam shipyard in Batam, Riau Islands, in June 2015.

The head of state has urged related parties to support the development of the nations shipbuilding industry by placing orders with them.

Indonesia has some 250 shipbuilding industries, including over 100 shipbuilding companies in Batam that are able of constructing large-scale ships with a capacity of 17,500 deadweight tonnage, the same as those of cargo ships, tankers, and commercial vessels.

The countrys major shipbuilding manufacturer, however, is state-owned PT PAL Indonesia, which is located at Ujung, Tanjung Perak area in Surabaya, East Java Province.

In 1980, the status of the company was changed from a Public Company (Perusahaan Umum) to a Limited Company (Perseroan Terbatas).

The re-engineering ability of PT PAL INDONESIA (Persero) is now available on the world market and its quality is renowned throughout the world.

The main activities of the Company are the manufacturing of naval and merchant ships, docking repairs and maintenance, and general engineering based on job orders.

Some of the products that have been delivered to the market include Landing Platform Dock 125 M, fast patrol boats steel structure 57 m, fast patrol boats/special ships aluminum structure up to 38 M, tugboats and anchor handling tugs/supply up to 6,000 BHP, fishing vessels up to 600 GRT, and ferries and passenger ships up to 500 PAX.

Of note, PT PAL launched its latest domestically built Strategic Sealift Vessel (SSV)-1 and Guided-missile Destroyer Escort (PKR)-1 in a ceremony held at the PAL shipyard in Tanjung Perak on Jan. 18, 2016.

"The Philippines has ordered two Landing Platform Dock (LPD) warships of SSV type from Indonesia. At the moment, the first ship has been launched, while the keel of the second vessel has been laid," President Director of PT PAL Indonesia Muhammad Firmansyah Arifin noted.

The launch ceremony was attended by Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Rizal Ramli, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu, some legislators, naval officials, and representatives of the Philippine Defense Ministry.

"Today is historical for Indonesia. For the first time, we exported a warship. This is the largest achievement of PT PAL Indonesia. We are proud of it," Rizal Ramli said during the launch ceremony.

The coordinating minister said it is time for Indonesia to control the ship market in Asia with its capability to build modern warships.

"In the past, the king in the shipbuilding industry was Japan, and then Korea took over. Due to the high costs of production and insurance, the domination now has begun to shift to Vietnam and Indonesia," he said.

However, the nation still needs cooperation in technology and management, such as PT PAL Indonesia has with Dutch shipbuilding company DSNS, he said.

He noted that the government will continue to back up the maritime industry by providing assistance, including for the shipbuilding industry.

The SSV warship belonging to the Lloyd Register class has been domestically built on the order of the Philippine defense ministry. The SSV-1 has been named Tarlac by the Philippine defense minister.

The SSV is an upcoming class of LPD, measuring 123 meters, with a width of 21.6 meters and a speed of 16 knots. It also has a sailing endurance of up to 30 days at sea.

The SSV can carry two helicopters and a landing craft utility vessel, tanks, and military trucks.

The warship is the first-ever to be exported by Indonesia and has received international recognition for the sophistication in its manufacturing process, according to Firmansyah.

Following the launch, PT PAL will do the finishing on it before delivering the SSV to the Philippines in May 2016.

Meanwhile, the PKR-1 frigate was built for the Indonesian defense ministry. Its construction was carried out in cooperation with Dutch shipbuilder Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) through a transfer of technology.

The frigate will be handed over to the Indonesian defense ministry in January 2017.

The PKR-1 is 105.11 meters long, 14.2 meters wide, and has a speed of 28 knots. The frigate is able to sail for 20 days at a speed of 14 knots.

The warship is equipped with battle armaments, such as torpedoes and missiles.

PT PAL was established by the Dutch government in 1939 under the original name of Marine Establishment (ME) when Indonesia was colonized by the Netherlands. The company was renamed Kaigun SE 2124 while under the colonial governance of Japan. After Independence Day, the Indonesian Government nationalized the colonial company and renamed it Penataran Angkatan Laut (PAL).

Also, the company might expect more orders from the Indonesian Navy, which has planned to replace its aging warships with new ones.

The House of Representatives (DPRs) Commission I and the Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) held a hearing on the development of the primary weaponry defense system (Alutsista) at the Navy Headquarters in Cilangkap, East Jakarta, on Jan. 19, 2016.

The hearing was held to discuss the modernization of Alutsista, as the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) chief had earlier emphasized that strengthening the Navy and Air Force (TNI AU) is a priority, Commission I Chairman Mahfuds Siddiq stated.

During the meeting, a plan was also discussed to provide some naval ships to the Maritime Security Agency (Bakamla).

In accordance with the nations maritime axis vision, the naval weaponry system must be modernized to guard Indonesian waters, Mahfuds Siddiq affirmed.

"Currently, the TNI AL is actively supporting the tasks of the maritime affairs and fishery ministry, but it does not only detain boats involved in illegal fishing activities, as it has to guard the nations entire maritime territory," the politician from the Justice and Prosperous Party (PKS) said.

Chief of Staff of the Navy Admiral Ade Supandi said those at the hearing with the legislators also discussed defense budgeting. "The role of the DPRs Commission I is crucial," he added.

The first priority is to stop operating old or outdated Alutsista. Ten warships will enter the conservation stage and no longer remain in operation. However, the warships will still be maintained if their replacements are not yet available.

Therefore, the Navy needs the DPRs support regarding the allocation of the budget, he said.(*)

Reporter: Fardah
Editor: Heru Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2016