Lest We Forget


Compiled by Faruq Bostaman

Muara Port attracting more cruise ships

Achong Tanjong

FEBRUARY 8, 2010 – The frequency of cruise vessels calling at Muara Port is increasing from two-three calls per month to six-seven calls per month in 2010.

Yesterday the Ports Department, Ministry of Communications recorded another significant event as MV Discovery made her maiden voyage to Muara Port. The vessel’s last port of call was Kota Kinabalu.

The cruise ship with 553 passengers and a crew of 317 arrived at Muara Port at 7am and left Brunei at 8pm the same day for Singapore.

Present at Muara Port to welcome the vessel were Acting Director of the Ports Department Haji Awang Bujang bin Haji Tinkong, officers from the department and officials from the Brunei Tourism Department.

The Brunei delegation boarded the ship where they were welcomed by the vessel’s master Captain Derrick Kemp and Director of Operation Douglas Smith.

MV Discovery berthed at Muara Port. PHOTO: ACHONG TANJONG

Speaking to reporters, Smith said, “This is the first time I have visited Brunei.”

Asked about his first impression of Brunei, he said, “It’s hot.”

“I will always remember my first arrival in Brunei because it is my 66th birthday today, February 7,” he said.

He added that Brunei and the United Kingdom have good relations and strong connections. “I am happy to be able to meet with Bruneians. You are friendly,” he said.

“The vessel will be back in England in May and in the next two years, we will come to Brunei again,” he said.

MV Discovery is run by a British company. There are passengers from all over the world travelling on the Discovery, including British, Canadians, Dutch and Australians.

The cruise vessel, built in 1972, was first known as the Island Princess and after being refurbished in May 2003, it was renamed MV Discovery. It weighs 20,000 tonnes, is 168.73 metres in length, has nine decks and is capable of carrying 650 passengers and 300 crew members.

While in Brunei, the passengers spent their time visiting places of interest.

Also know as Voyages of Discovery, the vessel was awarded the ‘Best Value in the Specialty Cruises’ in 2006, 2007 and 2008 by the World Ocean and Cruise Liner Society. The line was also voted winner of the ‘Favourite Niche Cruise Line’ at the British Travel Agent Awards in 2007 and 2008.

The addition of MV Discovery to the number of cruise vessels calling at Muara Port is yet another milestone for the Ports Department in attracting cruise vessels to Muara Port and increasing connectivity with other major tourist destinations in the region.

In 2009, there were 23 cruise vessel calls with 20,243 passengers and 9,917 crew members, while for 2010, the department is expecting 26 cruise vessels to call at Muara Port.

The frequency is increasing from two-three per month to six-seven calls per month this year. As of January to February this year, a total of six vessels had visited Brunei.

The shipping agent for the vessel is Bee Seng Shipping Company. A company official said, “More vessels will be coming to Brunei this month, including the ‘Spirit Adventure’, AIDA CARA from Germany, Costa Allegra, Costa Classica and Costa Romantica from Italy.

Customs officer takes a rest after 32 years’ service

FEBRUARY 6, 1960 – Pengiran Haji Ismail bin Pengiran Menuddu, who started work as a peon in the office of the Assistant Resident, Kuala Belait in 1932, retired from government service with the rank of Customs Officer, Grade 1.

Described by his colleagues as “one of the most outstanding officers in the service”, Pengiran Haji Ismail was awarded the Brunei Long Service Medal in 1955, the year he was promoted from the rank of Grade II Officer. He joined the Customs in 1938 as Grade III Officer after acting as process-server in the Kuala Belait court.

Pengiran Haji Ismail is the father of Pengiran Momin, the Assistant District Officer Belait, who is at present undergoing administrative training in Canada.

Pengiran Haji Ismail intends to “relax in comfort: at his home at Mile 5 Tutong Road, Brunei, and to devote more time to his children and grandchildren.

Pengiran Haji Ismail