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Maritime Logistics Community News : November 2009
20 NAVY SUPPLY NEWSLETTER SPRING 2009 GENESIS – RANLO SINGAPORE Since it was stood up some 33 years ago, the RAN Liaison Office – Singapore has seen thirteen RAN Liaison Officers come and go and it is now in its 14th rotation, with Lieutenant Commander Rachel Thompson, RAN, relieving me on 10 July 2009. RANLO Singapore is located in the PSA (Port of Singapore Authority) Sembawang Terminal in the far northern part of the island. As the name implies, PSA Sembawang is a commercial port, with the US Military, Royal Navy, Royal Australian Navy, New Zealand Defence Force and Singapore’s Armed Forces (SAF) collocating elements of their forces inside the facility, within a secure military enclosure. The port is essentially a basin with a set of naval wharves running down one side and a set of commercial wharves on the opposite side. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES RANLO SINGAPORE is an outlying Logistic Support Element of Fleet Headquarters Australia. RANLO SINGAPORE is responsible to the Fleet Commander, through Chief Staff Officer – Support. The unit typically supports about 20 – 30 port visits a year, within its area of interest, with visits by RAN force elements to Singapore being second only in number to those of the USN. MISSION RANLO SINGAPORE provides, through its presence and its activities, evidence of Australia’s commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA) involving Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom, as well as its various bilateral relationships with Brunei, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. RANLO SINGAPORE’s key tasks include: • The provision of logistic, technical and administrative support to RAN force elements and personnel visiting Singapore, Brunei, Pulau Tioman and Diego Garcia; • The provision of logistic support to RAN force elements operating in FPDA exercise areas; • Participation in various local/regional FPDA and bilateral exercise planning activities, in many cases as the lead or only maritime logistics subject matter expert; and • Managing the Department of Defence’s inventory of ‘leased’ housing (Married Quarters and Transit Housing) and other facilities at Sembawang; RANLO SINGAPORE is responsible for the management of MQ and Transit Housing in Singapore, as the only ADF unit in Singapore with the resources to do the job. The houses are old (built in the late 1930s by the British, just in time for their new occupants) and large and require a significant amount of maintenance. This is a time-consuming and complex task requiring close liaison with local contractors to ensure that the housing is being maintained to a satisfactory standard. The primary reasons for maintaining the transit housing is so that it can be provided to visiting RAN surface unit and submarine crews. Ancillary Tasks RANLO SINGAPORE’s ancillary tasks include: • Where resources permit, the provision of support to visiting ADF personnel, formed bodies and units, principally by providing service accommodation in the Black & White/Brick Transit Housing; and • The provision of logistic, technical and administrative support to RAN force elements visiting other ports in Asia, outside its immediate area of interest. Capabilities RANLO SINGAPORE also either ‘owns’ or has access to a number of significant capabilities in Singapore, including: • A technical workshop that may be used by visiting RAN force elements in support of assisted or self-maintenance periods1 . RANLO SINGAPORE ‘leases’ and manages this facility. Sembawang Naval Wharves are also located next to one of the world’s biggest and busiest commercial ship yards, with a dry dock and facilities capable of supporting the ‘deepest’ of any deep level maintenance activities the RAN may need to conduct; • Three naval wharves with full refuelling capability. RANLO SINGAPORE maintains a very close working relationship with RNLO SINGAPORE and the OIC of the UK Defence Fuels Group Office – Singapore (UK DFGO-S), which enables visiting RAN units to get their preferred berthing allocations most of the time and refuel when alongside. RNLO SINGAPORE maintains the naval wharves, but does not pass on any of these costs to the RAN, RNZN and USN. Being the Sembawang Naval Wharves Harbour Master, RNLO SINGAPORE also has a pool of fenders and brows, which RANLO SINGAPORE can also use at nil cost; • Robust force protection arrangements. CO NZDSU (SEA) commands a small Installation Auxiliary Police Force (IAPF) that provides security in the port. In addition to the NZ IAPF, Singapore’s Armed Forces maintain a platoon minus in the port as part of their national vital asset protection role. These two forces provide a ‘free of charge’ service to all visiting USN and FPDA units, with the security provided being a robust barrier and deterrent to any potential threats. Compared with other RANLO Singapore ‘Price is what you pay. Value is what you get’. (Warren Buffett) BY LCDR DAVID DYKSTRA, RAN 1 This is a capable workshop with a range of portable material handling equipment (e.g . forklifts, cherry picker, A-frame) and fixed and hand held tools (lathe, milling machine, etc).