Sunday, June 16, 2013

Combat ships dock in Penang

The ‘Suzunami’ and ‘Kirisame’ called at Swettenham Pier for replenishment after anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden

GEORGE TOWN: MEMBERS of the media were given a tour of the Japanese destroyer JS Suzunami, which docked at the Swettenham Pier for three days recently.

Suzunami, along with the Kirisame, two vessels from the Japan Maritime Self Defence Forces (JMSDF), called at the Penang Port for replenishment before their return voyage to Japan.

Captain Junichi Shimo, who commands both vessels, said the two ships had been engaged in anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden since January.

"This is the first time JMSDF pirate fighting vessels are calling at Penang Port," he said.

Shimo went on to say that JMSDF has been conducting anti-piracy operations for the past four years.

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"Fortunately, we have not seen any pirate action since we started this mission," he added.

Shimo said the return journey to Japan would take over a week.

Suzunami, a 151m-Takanami-class destroyer, was commissioned in Feb 2006.

Assigned to the Fleet Escort Force, Suzunami is home-ported in Ominato on the Aomori prefecture on the Sea of Japan.

Suzunami has the ability to cope with a variety of situations as she has her own radar and sonar sensors and is equipped with weapons such as the 127mm Rapid Fire Gun and Vertical Launching System (VLS) for anti-air or anti-submarine missiles, along with a patrol helicopter.

Suzunami and Kirisame, which mean "cool waves" and "misty rain" respectively, have a total of 400 crew members on board.

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