Members of the Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (ACCORD) visited the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN)'s 180 Squadron (SQN) earlier today. The visit was hosted by Second Minister for Defence Mr Ong Ye Kung and Commander Maritime Security Task Force (MSTF) Colonel Seah Poh Yeen.
During the visit, ACCORD members were briefed on Singapore's vulnerability to maritime threats, the importance of MSTF in keeping the sea lines of communication open for Singapore's maritime trade and industry, and MSTF's role in safeguarding the Singapore Strait. They observed a boarding demonstration led by Operationally Ready National Servicemen (NSmen) from 180 SQN's Accompanying Sea Security Teams (ASSeTs). ACCORD members were also given hands-on opportunities to experience some elements of the training that ASSeTs undergo.
Serving as Sea Marshals, ASSeTs ensure safe and secure passage for merchant vessels transiting the Singapore Strait. ASSeTs are also trained to take control and stop rogue vessels from ramming into coastal installations. Working closely alongside personnel from the Police Coast Guard (PCG), ASSeTs help to detect, deter and prevent acts of maritime terrorism.
Speaking at the end of the visit, ACCORD Member and Managing Director in Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Mr Loh Khai Peng, was impressed with the skills and professional standards that ASSeTs, including NSmen, possessed. "As a maritime nation, Singapore is highly vulnerable to threats from the sea. We must safeguard the security of our maritime home. This visit allowed me to better understand the importance of the RSN and its ASSeTs in ensuring the security of our waters, which Singapore's economy and livelihood is dependent on. It also reaffirmed my confidence in our NSmen, who are well-trained and deployed to protect Singapore against maritime threats," he said.