Procurement: September 10, 2003

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The Indonesian province of Sumatra, alarmed at the increase in piracy off its coasts, and the inability of the Indonesian navy to cope with the problem, has offered to buy a new patrol boat (for $1.5 million) if the navy would supply a crew and use the new boat regularly off the Sumatran coasts. The navy would select, and own, the new boat. Most of the Indonesian navy is old and broken. When the Cold War ended, Indonesian bought most of the East German navy. Many of these ships were small, and already ten or more years old. But maintained by the Germans, they were in pretty good shape. Maintained by less diligent Indonesian sailors, the ships began to break down. Operating in the tropics, instead of the chilly Baltic, aged these ships even faster. The government hasn't got money to buy new ships, or even keep a lot of the old ones in repair. Having a province buy a warship for the navy isn't so unusual. Wealthy individuals have been known to buy patrol cars for the police, with the understanding that the new car would show up regularly in the donors neighborhood. Even in the United States, companies, or wealthy individuals, will sometimes donate equipment to the local police. But it is a bit unique for a province to buy a warship for the national navy.


 


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