The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) decommissioned the first of its Fearless-class Patrol Vessels (PV), RSS Independence, at a sunset ceremony at Tuas Naval Base this evening. Officiated by Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral (RADM) Lai Chung Han, the ceremony marked the start of the progressive handing over of duties from the PVs, which have been operational starting from 1996, to the new Littoral Mission Vessels (LMV).
RSS Independence and its sister ships were the first warships wholly designed and built in Singapore, under a collaborative effort by the RSN, the Defence Technology Community, and the local defence industry. RSS Independence was commissioned on 22 Aug 1998 by then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, to take over the operational duties of Patrol Craft RSS Independence to safeguard Singapore's maritime interests and territorial integrity. RSS Independence had valiantly taken on the duties since then and was involved in numerous operations at sea, as well as in maritime surveillance, patrol and escort operations. It also participated in numerous bilateral and multilateral exercises with foreign navies.
Speaking at the ceremony, RADM Lai paid tribute to RSS Independence and to the generations of its crew members. He said, 'In her years of service, RSS Independence was an integral part of the RSN's frontline force which protected Singapore's territorial waters and safeguarded our sea lines of communication, staying true to her motto "We Will Defend". The success of RSS Independence would not have been possible without the unwavering dedication, professionalism, tenacity and sacrifice of the generations of officers and crews who have served on-board. The RSN salutes RSS Independence for her two decades of faithful service. The qualities and values she represented, as well as her steadfast contributions she has made, shall continue to inspire the men and women of the RSN for generations to come'.
The name RSS Independence along with its operational duties will be handed over to the LMV Independence during a commissioning ceremony on 5 May 2017, to be held in conjunction with the RSN's 50th anniversary celebrations. The LMVs are faster, more versatile, and equipped with sharper capabilities to further strengthen the RSN's effectiveness in seaward defence, and the protection of Singapore's sea lines of communication. The RSN's fleet of LMVs will be fully operational by 2020.
Also present at the decommissioning ceremony were past and present crew members of RSS Independence as well as senior RSN officers.