The Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) decommissioned three Fearless-class Patrol Vessels (PVs) -- RSS Sovereignty, RSS Unity and RSS Justice -- at a sunset ceremony at Tuas Naval Base this evening. Officiated by Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral (RADM) Lew Chuen Hong, the ceremony marked the progressive handing over of duties from the PVs to the new Littoral Mission Vessels (LMVs).
The Fearless-class PVs, which have been operational starting from 1996, were the first warships wholly designed and built in Singapore. The three PVs -- RSS Sovereignty, RSS Unity and RSS Justice -- were commissioned on 7 February 1998 by then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam. Over the last twenty years, the ships had valiantly safeguarded Singapore's maritime interests and territorial integrity through numerous operations at sea, such as maritime surveillance, and patrol and escort operations. They also participated in numerous bilateral and multilateral exercises with foreign navies. In addition, RSS Unity supported the advancement of the RSN's naval combat systems as the Naval Technology Evaluation Ship.
Commander Maritime Security Task Force RADM Alan Goh, who delivered the citations, paid tribute to the three ships and to the generations of its crew members. He said, "Throughout their operational service, these three ships were an integral part of the RSN's 24/7 high readiness core and truly lived up to the PV Squadron's motto of being 'Sharp and Vigilant'. The success of these three PVs would not have been possible without the unwavering dedication, professionalism, tenacity and sacrifices of many generations of officers and crew who served on board."
The names RSS Sovereignty and RSS Unity along with their operational duties will be handed over to the LMVs during a commissioning ceremony to be held later this year, whilst the mantle of RSS Justice will be taken up by its LMV counterpart following its commissioning in 2018. 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 Sovereignty, RSS Unity and RSS Justice as well as senior RSN officers.