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Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
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Submarine base to accommodate Russian, South Korean vessels

  • Ruslan Sangadji

    The Jakarta Post

Palu | Wed, February 3, 2016 | 03:11 pm

The Indonesian Navy is speeding up the development of a submarine base in Palu, Central Sulawesi, aiming to have it completed by the end of the year and operational early next year to accommodate Russian and South Korean vessels.

Palu Navy naval base commander Col. Yanu Madawanto said on Tuesday that construction of the naval base was costing more than Rp 21 billion (US$1.5 million) and would accommodate two Russian and South Korean-made submarines.

'€œOperation of the submarine dock will coinciding with the arrival of the submarines from South Korea and Russia,'€ said Yanu.

According to Yanu, the submarine base in Palu will be the third of its kind in Indonesia, joining the Western Fleet Command (Koarmabar) in Jakarta and Eastern Fleet Command (Koarmatim) in Surabaya.

'€œThe naval base in Palu will become the Central Fleet Command [Koarmateng],'€ said Yanu.

The submarine base project was earlier delayed for a month during the negotiation process for the procurement of the submarines. However, the deal has been made and the project has been resumed.

Dredging work is currently being carried out to build the dock. It will be completed in the near future and the second phase of construction will then commence.

Yanu said the Korean-made submarine that would be stationed at the Palu naval base, built by the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering of South Korea, was 6 meters wide and 60 meters long, while the Russian-made submarine was 6 meters wide and 100 meters long.

The submarine base is situated in the Palu Bay area in Watusampu subdistrict, Ulujadi district, Palu city, at a very ideal depth.

'€œPalu Bay is the world'€™s third-deepest sea,'€ said Yanu.

Palu Bay was picked as one of the locations for the submarine bases due to the strategic location of the bay, which is 10 kilometers wide and has a coastline spanning 68 km. It reaches a depth of 400 meters. It also has adequate natural protection against extreme ocean currents.

'€œThe depth is exceptional and can be traversed even by US aircraft carriers,'€ said Yanu.

The Palu naval base will become one of the nation'€™s main naval bases, so the Navy will equip it with modern facilities, especially due to its proximity with the Malaysian border.

'€œThe Ambalat issue is still ongoing, so the submarine base in Palu is very strategic in terms of securing the island,'€ said Yanu.

Earlier, Central Sulawesi Governor Longki Djanggola said that judging from the available documents, the position of Palu Bay in the middle of the northern border of Indonesia with neighboring countries and the Java Sea in the south, was very strategic in terms of defense, so submarines stationed in Palu could cover the region well.

The region is also part of the Archipelagic Sea Lanes of Indonesia (ALKI II), encompassing the Sulawesi Sea, Makassar Strait, Flores Sea and Lombok Strait. North of the ALKI II are Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, and China, which is very strategic from a geopolitical and geoeconomic perspective for Indonesia.

The ALKI II is a sea lane in Indonesia that can be passed by large-tonnage merchant ships from across the world under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

'€œSo, this is the right place to build a Navy submarine base,'€ said Longki.