Malaysia opens new maritime base at Middle Rocks, near Pedra Branca

Malaysia opens new maritime base at Middle Rocks, near Pedra Branca

Malaysia maritime base at Middle Rocks
Malaysia's Abu Bakar Maritime Base at Middle Rocks, near Pedra Branca. (Screen capture from video: Facebook/Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar)

SINGAPORE: Malaysia has set up a new maritime base on Middle Rocks, near Pedra Branca, the island awarded to Singapore in an International Court of Justice ruling in 2008.

The facility, known as Abu Bakar Maritime Base, includes a 316-metre jetty, a lighthouse, and a helicopter landing pad, according to defence magazine IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.

The base is about 7.9 nautical miles from the Johor coast and 0.6 nautical miles from Pedra Branca, and was officially opened by Johor's Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar on Tuesday (Aug 1).

The facility was completed almost a year ago, on Aug 29, 2016, and comprises two distinct buildings 316.6 m apart, the Sultan of Johor said in a Facebook post.

He added that it is used jointly by the Marine Department, Armed Forces, police, among others, including fishermen.

"The project, under the National Security Council, is aimed at safeguarding Malaysia's sovereign territory and waters and for conducting marine scientific research," the Johor Sultan wrote.

The base is also meant to "reaffirm Malaysia's absolute sovereignty over the Middle Rocks off Kota Tinggi, Johor," he added.

The opening of the maritime base comes slightly more than a month after Malaysia filed an application requesting interpretation of the ICJ's judgment over the sovereignty of Pedra Branca.

This, Malaysia said, was “separate and autonomous” from another application in February seeking revision of the ICJ judgment.

On May 23, 2008, the ICJ ruled that Singapore had sovereignty over Pedra Branca, while Middle Rocks was awarded to Malaysia. South Ledge belonged to the state in whose territorial waters it is located, the ICJ found.

Source: CNA/dt