Profile: Paul Wong and Yong Choo Kui: A Tug Building Team

Thursday, October 23, 2003

In 2002 Managing Director Yong Choo Kui gained ISO9001 Quality Management Certification at the same time as the Yong Choo Kui (YCK) Shipyard celebrated its 25th anniversary. As the first shipyard in Sibu, Sarawak to gain this certification there is a great sense of pride in the continued in-house quality control as well as in meeting the demands of a wide range of international classification societies.

In August the (Nippon Kaiji Kyokai) NK-classed tug Kim Heng 9 is being delivered to her Singaporean owners, Kim Heng Marine Pte. Ltd. Well equipped for harbor work, the 23.5 meter vessel is powered by a pair of six-cylinder Cummins KTA19M1 main engines each delivering 500 hp to open 62-in. propellers through Reintjes WAF264 marine gears.

An indication of the maturity of boat building in Sibu can be seen in the various support industries that have grown up around the shipyards. In addition to engine suppliers like Scott and English (Malaysia) who supplied the Cummins engines, there are local manufacturing companies like Siong Ping Engineering who supplied the vessel's quick release towing hook. Perhaps most important to the Sibu boat building infrastructure are the offices of several naval architect firms including Mr. T.K. Wong's United Ship Design, Mr. B.T Chieng's Syarikat Chieng & Sons and Mr. Paul Wong's Wong Shipbuilding Contractor and Designer. Paul Wong, whose firm designed the Kim Heng 9, is particularly noted for the diversity of his projects and his self-taught practicality. Having graduated from school as a top academic student, he surprised many of his peers by taking work as a shipyard welder. But the threat to his eyesight from welding without proper goggles and his obvious aptitude for design soon led him into an apprenticeship and eventually to his own design firm. While he has been more recently joined by his son who trained in naval architecture in Taiwan, Paul's extensive contributions have been recognized by membership in the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers in America. He has also been recognized by the New Zealand's National Institute of Higher Education who have, in December of 2000, conferred on him a membership degree of Chartered Practicing Professional in Naval Architecture.

With a beam of 7.32 m and a 3.2-m molded depth the vessel has tankage for 100 cu. m of fuel and 21 cu. m. of fresh water. Accommodation is provided for up to ten crew members. Bollard pull is estimated at 12 tons.

In addition to their steel tugs, both Paul Wong and Yong Choo Kui are noted for their design and construction of single hulled high speed ferries in both steel and aluminum. A quote from the Yong Choo Kui Shipyards promotional video says the skies of Malaysia may be filled with European and American aircraft and the roads may be filled Japanese automobiles, but they intend that the Malaysian seas and those of the world will be filled with boats from Sibu, Sarawak.

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