When the Myanmar Navy Took Possession of Its 1st Flagship
By Wei Yan Aung 25 May 2019
Seventy-two years ago today, the vessel Mayu, which would become the first flagship of the Myanmar Navy, was presented to General Aung San by British Lieutenant Commander Mitchell. The handover ceremony was held on the deck of the ship, and was attended by Myanmar ministers led by Gen. Aung San and members of the press.
The River-class frigate was built as HMS Fal for the British Royal Navy in 1942, and performed convoy escort missions in the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal.
At the ceremony, she was renamed Mayu after the Mayu River in Rakhine State to honor the officers and men of the Burma Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, who fought Japanese fascists on the river during World War II.
After independence in 1948, the vessel was formally named Union of Burma Ship (UBS) Mayu.
She served in many counter-insurgency operations in Yangon, Pathein, Mawlamyine and Rakhine during the civil war that broke out upon independence, and also served as a training ship for officers of the Myanmar Navy.
UBS Mayu participated when Myanmar leaders paid official goodwill visits to Australia in 1959 and to India in 1961.
During the Burma Socialist Programme Party’s rule, the Navy continued to use the ship to protect the country’s territorial waters and to counter smuggling.
After 32 years of active service, she was decommissioned in 1979 and designated a historic war vessel. UBS Mayu is preserved as a museum ship at Myanmar Naval Training Headquarters Seikkyi in Yangon’s Thanlyin Township.
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