Four new rocket-launching gunboats, built for the Malaysian Navy by a French shipbuilding concern, left Cherbourg harbour on Saturday (5 May) to join their fleet half way around the world.
LV Two gunboats docked
SCU PAN FROM Malaysian flag on stern PAST Missile launcher TO Bridge superstructure
SV French Naval Contingent on quayside
LV Helicopter overhead
SV PAN Three gunboats prepare to leave
SV & LV People on dock watch gangplank raised (2 shots)
SV French officers on dock
GV & SV PAN Gunboat "Perdana" leaving
LV PAN Another gunboat leaves
Initials ESP/1526 ESP/1541
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Background: Four new rocket-launching gunboats, built for the Malaysian Navy by a French shipbuilding concern, left Cherbourg harbour on Saturday (5 May) to join their fleet half way around the world.
The ships, among the most advanced of their kind, faced a voyage of 12,000 nautical miles. Officials said it was an unofficial record distance.
Vice-Admiral d'Escadre Cloteau, maritime prefect of the Cherbourg region, and Malaysia's Ambassador to Paris, Tan Sri Abdul Jamal bin Latiff, were present at the Cherbourg dockside when Commander Yaacob bin Daud gave the signal for the ships to depart.
The voyage would take the "Serang", the "Ganas", "Perdana" and "Ganyang" to Lisbon, down the African coast to Dakar, Freetown and Mossamedes; at Diego Suarez in Madagascar, the gunboats were to stop for several days. The command of the ships would then be taken over by a Malaysian naval officer.
The remainder of the 40-day journey was scheduled through the Seychelles, Ceylon and ending at the port of Penang on the Malay peninsula.
Primary duties of the ships will be in coastal patrol, but soon after arrival, they will serve as an escort to the frigate carrying the King of Malaysia -- Di Yang Pertuan Agong -- to Singapore's July 1 celebration of "Navy Days".
The four modern gunboats join a Malaysian fleet totalling about 40 vessels. The new ships boost the number of missile-armed coastal craft to 8.