Indonesia to spend $39m on new navigation maintenance ships

Indonesia is investing in better maritime infrastructure with the transportation ministry appointing three shipbuilders to build eight vessels meant specifically to service the archipelagic nation’s navigation systems, local reports said.

The ministry signed contracts worth a total of IDR540bn ($38.9m) with PT Dumas Tanjung Perak Shipyard, PT Multi Prima and PT Citra Shipyard to build the vessels which will comprise three buoy tender ships to maintain and replace navigation buoys and five vessels to monitor lighthouses.

“These new vessels will improve the government’s capacity to ensure sufficient sailing navigation in the country,” the ministry’s director general for sea transportation Bobby Mamahit was quoted as saying.

Construction of the ships will be funded using the state budget. The buoy tender ships will be built between 2015 and 2017 while the inspection boats will be delivered from 2015-2016.

The buoy tender vessels will be stationed in several navigation areas, including Sorong in West Papua, Makassar in South Sulawesi and Bitung in North Sulawesi, while the inspection boats will be placed in Teluk Bayur, West Sumatra; Benoa, Bali; Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara; Sabang, Aceh; and Sibolga, North Sumatra.

The eight ships are part of the ministry’s sea transportation directorate general’s plan to build 190 ships to support ship navigation as part of President Joko Widodo’s programme to upgrade the country’s sea transportation system.

Bobby said the government would invest a total of IDR11.8trn between 2015 to 2017, and hoped to seal contracts worth IDR3trn this year.

“So far, we have signed contracts for [the development of] 30 ships. I hope all of the contracts can be signed in November,” Bobby said, adding that tenders for all the ships had been called already.

Bobby noted that some of the new ships were meant to replace obsolete less fuel-efficient vessels, some which are 40 years old, but which made up around a third of the ministry’s fleet of 67 ships.

To ensure safety in sea transportation, ideally the ministry should have 120 ships designated for navigation systems, according to Bobby, adding that there are plans to add at least 10 navigation system maintenance ships during the next three years with total investment of around IDR835bn.

The contracts are expected to boost Indonesia’s shipbuilding industry. Dumas Tanjung Perak Shipyards president director Yance Gunawan said the ship construction was the company’s first project this year, as the shipbuilding industry has been hit by the depreciation of the rupiah and the slowing economy as imported materials make up 70% of their costs currently.

“We don’t even see the amount of money anymore, as long as we can get something to work on,” Yance said. 

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