The al Qa’ida attacks on New York’s World Trade Centre inspired the biggest boom in patrol boat building since World War Two.
With five years of wonderful business under their belts, since then the world’s patrol boat builders hit the jackpot again with the rapid rise in pirate activity around Somalia and elsewhere.
Now, the world is certainly an unstable place but it is probably too much to hope that this lengthy and amazing boom can continue. If nothing else, the countries that could afford to build patrol boats now have a major problem in recruiting and training enough people to crew them.
Malaysia is the quiet achiever of world shipbuilding. Apart
from in the pages of this magazine, little is heard of the Malaysian builders
of smaller ships and work boats.
Largely ignored by much of the maritime world, Malaysia goes
about its shipbuilding quietly but productively. It has done so for more than
Regular readers of this magazine however, would be well
aware of the wide variety of craft that Malaysia produces. They are also aware
of the wide range of countries that are the customers of Malaysia’s
Our readers will also be aware of the steady increase in the
variety of vessels coming out of Malaysian yards. They will also have learnt of
the increasing size of those vessels and their steady improvement in quality.
Ausmarine, Ships & Shipping editorial - August
Reading through Nazery Khalid’s feature on Malaysia’s
maritime industry in this issue (see pages 16 and 17) I was struck by the
amazing contrast with the approach of neighbouring Australia.
The two countries are similar in terms of both population
and their considerable reliance on the export of bulk commodities. The exports
of both are at least 95 per cent shipping dependant.
That is about where their similarities begin and end. In
their approaches to matters maritime it is hard to imagine that two countries
could be more different.
For the last two decades or more Malaysia’s governments have
very actively encouraged and promoted their country’s maritime activity. During
the same period Australia’s governments have pretty much done the opposite.
They have, at best, practiced neglect. Mostly, though, they have been actively
Work Boat World, Ships & Shipping editorial -
It was interesting, indeed heartening, to see the changes
wrought by the current American Defence Secretary when he took over during the
latter part of the George W. Bush regime.
Even more heartening was the fact that President Obama kept
Secretary Gates on in his post, the only Bush appointee to do so. Given the
totally different philosophies and approaches of the Obama administration, this
was a major compliment to Robert Gates.
Delving deeper into the United States Defence (sorry,
Defense) morass it becomes easier to see why Mr Gates was so unexpectedly
re-appointed. The very strange, undisciplined and largely ineffectual
activities of his predecessor Donald Rumsfield, were highly damaging to the