Monday, November 18, 2013

EXCLUSIVE - Navy@Vivo by Republic of Singapore Navy

I could not explain how excited I was when I saw the invite to go on board the RSS Endurance to tour the ship and also some exclusive places like the Kitchen & tank rooms and the front of the ship (Bow). It was truly fascinating and definitely an eye opener for me as I would have never imagined myself onboard a battle ship ever in my life. It was a wonderful weekend for me, was it for you? :)

Fun facts about the RSS Endurance: the RSS Endurance or Warship 207 was the first Singapore Landing Ship Tank (LST) to be deployed to the Gulf. The LST is 141metres long - the equivalent of three Olympic-sized Swimming pools put together lengthwise. It is as deep as an eight storey block of flats, and as wide as half a football field. The LST is usually manned by a crew of about 81 Navy men & women, but it's carrying capacity may be augmented to suit to include other support functions such as logistics specialist and medical personnel for different operations. 

Me with RSS Endurance - pic credit Apple

Making it's first appearance at Vivocity , the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) Endurance-class landing ship tank, RSS Endurance, was opened to the public for visit from 14-17 November 2013. In addition, an exhibition was happening in Vivocity to showcase the RSN's missions and operations and also photobooth opportunities for families. Look at the little kids!! More on the Singapore Navy's Facebook Page here.

After going through the usual security checks, We went up the ship via the Gangway (stairs) and I though to myself, the navy people do have a lot of unique ways of naming their places. Like their Kitchen is called Galley and their toilets are called Heads, go figure! When onboard the RSS Endurance, my jaw dropped , my mouth was wide open, like really cannot close, lol. The ship was... Magnificent ! With a huge landing deck that was able to accomadate 2 Super Puma helicopter at any 1 time, the RSS Endurance also acts as a fuel recharge point for these aircrafts ! Talk about multi functionality !

Picture with the Pilot of the Super Puma, LTA Kaiser (cute guy!) - pic credit Thomas

The RSS Endurance is usually out as a support rather than an attacking position, but they are also armed with remarkable equipments to protect themselves when necessary! Look at what they have on board! :)
Huge gun on the RSS Endurance that is used to attack enemies 

Fun Fact: When a person is facing the bow(head of ship), the left side is called the port and the right side is the starboard. 
Group photo of the bloggers invited - pic credit Thomas

The Hightlight of the media tour, The Galley, as i mention above, the navy call their kitchen the Galley and they do not usually open it up for public tours in Singapore but this time we were honored to have visited the kitchen and got to know how they usually cook on the unpredictable sea.

No Fire on Board(DUH) so they usually use Hot Plates to cook and in case you are wondering why their POTS are huge, It's because at any 1 time, the ship carries about 81 seamen on board and so they have to make sure they can cater to the large crowd of hungry men that is working hard out there. And Do you notice the metal pole at the corners of the hot plates? They are used as a support to allow the chefs to tie the pots together so that they do not slide off the pan when the sea is choppy!

And of course, We do not want to see flying knifes in the kitchen do we? :) They have cleverly used a magnetic strip to hold the knifes in place so that they will not fly around and injure anyone. We need the chefs to stay alive to make our seamen stay alive! Hahaha.

A Deep pot that could easily cook up soup that could cater to the 81 pax onboard, but due to safety and sea conditions, naval chefs could only cook half or less than half a pot of soup at anyone time in order to avoid spills. We do not wish the hot soup to be splashed on our naval chefs too!

Steady Bars are designed on the ceiling of the galley to allow naval chefs to have a grip on while they cook when the ship is going through rough sea conditions. It's totally not easy trying to balance yourself and cooking at the same time, and worrying if the pot will slide away or spill over any time.

I truly salute the naval chefs, having to work over 12 hours in the kitchen everyday, preparing food with the limited rations available, and constantly racking their brains to come up with delicious menus to entice the naval crew's appetite after long hours of work and emotional feelings from being away from home.. The flow would be: Breakfast > Lunch > Dinner > Night Snack > Pack up > Sleep > Wake up > Repeat (I guess) :P

Chef Jagen here is demostrating his signature kampung fried rice to us in the Tilting Frying Pan, it's not easy frying rice in a Rectangular Pan with a Shovel looking spatula for cooking. And the equipments are not exactly light to start with, A true work out in the kitchen even!

Chef Jagen has 20 years of experience being in the Navy and has served 4 years on the current RSS Endurance. He enjoys himself in the navy because it allows him to travel to different parts of the world. :)
Picture with the Naval Chef Jagen - Pic credit Thomas

Their Dining Area (Cafeteria), is designed to be like Macdonalds seating style and this is to allow the Seamen to relax and enjoy their meals while catching up with each other and sometimes, games are played here too for the Officers to bond with their crew.

Water Tight Door (WTD) is used to ensure that water does not leak through the door in case of emergency to make sure that the safe area stays dry.

I'm standing at the Bow of the Ship with our national flag flying high!

With Apple at The Bridge Area (Operation Room)
Picture with Apple - pic credit Thomas

A small collage of more of the places we visited and we also witnessed the prestigious Sunset Ceremony!
More pictures will be uploaded on my facebook page so do check it out! :)

A picture with the wonderful & Handsome host LTC Chew, ME2-2 Wisely Tay and Kee Onn! :)
Picture with the host of the day - pic credit Thomas
Some facts about ME2-2 Wisely Tay: He has served 21 years and 5 year in the current RSS swordsman. He has recently taken part in the latest Star Chef competition alongside with 3 other members and results are to be out on 26 Nov 2013. He was the 2nd Runner-Up and Champion for Healthy Cooking Competition organized by Navy for 2 consecutive years in 2001 and 2002. I shall not blabber too much, but this shows that Naval chefs are just as good as chefs outside, and I hope all the naval chefs will have more confidence in themselves and I wish them all the best in their service on the seas, I know its not easy.. FIGHTING! :)


Then on the Saturday, We were able to go on the Fast Craft Utility(FCU) ride, I was really excited although I had to wake up early in the morning to prepare and head over to harbourfront from my house. When I reached, there were SOOOOO Many people at the Navy Exhibition already! Many were queuing up to ballot for tickets and also photobooth opportunities where 1 could put on the uniforms and snap a memorable photo dressed up as a navy officer.

Safety first - Life Jacket (+ my bag, lol)
This is how the FCU looks like from the waiting/briefing area. I was bubbling with excitement when I put on the life jacket already, I was screaming with excitement in my head, to myself.. LOL..

Oh its nothing, just a view when the FCU leaves the RSS Endurance. (ITS AWESOME!!)

Suave Navy Officers looking smart in their uniforms. ^o^

And another one...

And afew others.. :)

Here's me with the sky on the Sea.. I love the SEA!!!! -ignore my huge forehead-

Me with my partner of the day CK! :) -please ignore my huge forehead-

Here's me with the Limited Edition RSS Endurance Ball Cap! :) I LOVE IT!! Did you manage to win yours through the Singapore Navy's Instagram Contest? :)

To end off this post, I would like to thank the Republic of Singapore Navy for organizing this wonderful experience for everyone who manage to get tickets to go on board the ship. It allowed us to learn more about the naval life and also to understand how the structure of the ship is and the many safety precautions taken to ensure all the seamen go in 1 piece, and come back in 1 piece. It was truly an eye opener and thank you to all the crew activated to ensure the event was a successful one, guiding us patiently and smiling at all of us! And the Greatest honour was to be able to speak to the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral Ng Chee Peng! Thank you Sir for your time and laughter! :)

Picture with the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral Ng Chee Peng - pic credit Thomas
Check out more photos of Navy@Vivo at the Singapore Navy's Facebook Page and also like them to be the first to get information of anymore exhibitions available FIRST HAND! :) 

Thank you for reading,

With Love, M