While I didn’t attend the Republic of Singapore Navy’s Open House this past weekend, I did attend one of their publicity events a few months back. The Navy@Vivo event had one of our navy’s hardworking Formidable-class frigates dock at a seaside shopping mall (Vivocity, commonly called “Vivo” for short), and open for public boarding. Come walk on board RSS Intrepid with me!
It was a ticketed entry, and I balloted for mine. There were time slots so as to spread out the flow of visitors on board the ship. Upon boarding, the first thing that greeted everyone was the on-deck helicopter.
Being a semi-guided tour, I took my time walking around the aircraft before assembling to await entry into the ship. Once in, I was glad I decided to leave my camera settings at Automatic; there’s simply not enough space to stick around one spot for too long before another visitor almost clamours over, trying to move past.
After a few minutes of slow walking, taking in all the sights of the equipments, I arrived at the bridge. At first glance, it seemed like a boring place, but I soon caught on to the little details.
From this control room, we were slowly herded through a door. I wondered what was causing a queue to be formed, until it was my turn through that door and saw the steep, narrow steps.
A typical officer’s room, more ladders and steep steps, a cosy lounge and a canteen (which I didn’t take a photo of) made up the rest of the exploration trail that was open to public. The last photo above, I tried to capture the typical narrow walking areas, cluttered with all those pipes. Soon, and quite suddenly, we appeared back on the main deck where we first started. Time seemed to pass really quickly, because the late afternoon sun was already upon us.
Look at the crowd! This was half an hour before the ceremonial sunset flag-lowering on board RSS Intrepid, but I couldn’t stay long enough to watch. Still, getting to explore an operational frigate that just came back from counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, and meeting the people who worked and lived aboard it for a good many months, was an exciting experience!