Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia and Indonesia have agreed to have only one vessel each to patrol the disputed Ambalat waters in order to avoid a repeat of the April 8 incident in which their navy ships “brushed” against each other.
The agreement was reached during a meeting between Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) chief, Admiral Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor, and his Indonesian counterpart, Admiral Madya Slamet Subidyanto, in Batam on April 22.
Adm Mohd Anwar would not disclose how many navy ships are patrolling the area at the moment. But he said the limit of one ship per country can help reduce tension between both countries.
“Aside from that, we also wish to stop any suspicion that may arise between both countries if there are too many military assets stationed in the Sulawesi Sea.
“The RMN and Indonesian Navy had signed an agreement in 2000, in which both countries had agreed not to take any action that might give rise to tension should there be any incident involving our ships," he told reporters.
On April 8, the Malaysian vessel KD Renchong and the Indonesian warship KRI Tedung Naga were engaged in what was officially described as a “series of brushes” while patrolling the disputed area, which is believed to be rich in oil, causing damage to both vessels.
* Navies to carry out duties with extra care (New Straits Times, April 23)