Two decommissioned Patrol Vessels (PVs) from the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) will be getting a new lease of life when they join the Royal Brunei Navy (RBN). On 15 Mar, the first of these former Fearless-class PVs were transferred to the RBN, in a handover ceremony held at Changi Naval Base.
The ceremony was officiated by Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant-General (LG) Melvyn Ong and Commander Royal Brunei Armed Forces Major General (MG) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Muhammad Haszaimi bin Bol Hassan.
"The ceremony today marks another significant milestone in the close friendship between Singapore and Brunei… The Fearless-class PVs have protected the Singapore Strait for more than two decades.
"I hope that these vessels will serve the RBN well, and that it will enhance the maritime defence of Brunei for the coming years," said LG Ong.
In his speech, MG Dato Haszaimi thanked the RSN for the support and training it rendered to the new crew: "This hands-on experience allowed the Royal Brunei Navy personnel (to) not only gain valuable knowledge and competency in operating the Patrol Vessel…(it also helped in) enhancing the relationship that was forged during the training."
The PV has taken on the new name AS-SIDDIQ, meaning "truthful".
Two decades of service
The first major ships to be designed and built locally in Singapore, the PVs have served the SAF and RSN faithfully since the first ship, RSS Fearless, was launched on 18 Feb 1995. She was commissioned on 5 Oct 1996 together with two sister ships.
Over the years, the PV fleet has participated in various maritime security missions, safeguarding Singapore's waters and deterring piracy and sea robbery, as well as search-and-rescue efforts.
The aging fleet of PVs were gradually decommissioned as they made way for the Littoral Mission Vessels. The first to retire was RSS Independence, in a sunset ceremony on 8 Mar 2017.
Four PVs have been refurbished as Sentinel-class Maritime Security and Response Vessels under the Maritime Security and Response Flotilla, to provide the RSN with more calibrated options against a range of threats.