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Maritime Logistics Community News : November 2009
21 NAVY SUPPLY NEWSLETTER SPRING 2009 countries in the region, Singapore is a relatively safe port, and a popular destination with visiting Ship’s Companies. • Access to the Commander of the Logistics Group Western Pacific (USN) (COMLOGWESTPAC), who commands a fleet of USN and USNS re-supply ships that operate between Hawaii to just east of the Arabian Gulf. RANLO SINGAPORE liaises closely with COMLOGWESTPAC staff to arrange replenishment at sea activities i.e. USN/USN assets refuelling RAN ships and vice versa; • Access to the USAF, which conducts regular re-supply flights to Diego Garcia from Singapore. RANLO SINGAPORE is able to use this service to transport high priority stores to Diego Garcia to meet RAN units and to move RAN personnel either to or from the island; • Access to the USN Regional Support Centre – Singapore, which provides a range of ‘free’ morale, welfare and recreation services to visiting RAN personnel e.g . Terror Club, USN Fleet Gymnasium, and Navy Exchange Store. RANLO SINGAPORE can also access the USN’s local Bachelor Enlisted and Bachelor Officer Transit Quarters (BEQ/BOQ) , which is useful when ADF/RAN units are trying to save money and the ADF/ADO housing is full; • ADF/ADO Transit Housing capable of accommodating up to 70 personnel at a time. Although the transit housing is not in high demand throughout the year, it only has to be full a few times a year to justify its retention and make it a much cheaper alternative to Singapore’s expensive hotels. The accommodation is usually fully booked out when submarines visit and during FPDA exercises, when large numbers of ADF personnel deploy to Singapore and/or Malaysia; and • A small pool of commercial motor vehicles (mini-buses and sedans) that visiting ships and ADF personnel use when they visit Singapore on duty. Collectively, these component capabilities enable RANLO SINGAPORE to function as a ‘hub and spoke’ node in the supply chain, available to the RAN or the ADF in the event of a regional contingency e.g . Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Operations. RANLO SINGAPORE’s various capabilities also enable the ADF or the RAN to better project and sustain combat power in the region, should the need arise. Having a permanent RAN presence in Singapore also enables the RAN to directly observe its allies. In some cases, what they are doing may be of interest to the RAN. For example, in the last couple of years, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of USN ship visits to Singapore. In June, the USN opened a Logistic Support and Repair Facility for their MK V Special Operations Craft at Sembawang Naval Wharves. RECENT ACTIVITIES Port Visits Sembawang Naval Wharves, sometimes jokingly referred to as ‘Fleet Base North’, is arguably one of the RAN’s busiest ports, with probably only Fleet Base East and Fleet Base West being busier. In the two and half years that I was in charge, RANLO SINGAPORE supported 45 port visits to Singapore2 , one port visit to Brunei, two port visits to Pulau Tioman and 10 port visits to Diego Garcia. Exercises Exercise BERSAMA SHIELD 09 was an asset rich exercise this year with the RN in particular sending a higher than normal number of ships to the exercise. This was because the RN had deployed a Task Group comprising HM ships BULWARK (not involved in BERSAMA SHIELD 09), OCEAN and SOMERSET as well as the tanker RFA WAVE RULER for a series of exercises in the Far East. Travelling in advance of the task Group and supporting it was a small Forward Logistics Team (FLT). With HMS OCEAN and her embarked rotary wing aircraft (RN 820 Squadron Merlin aircraft) participating in the exercise, along with three tankers (SUCCESS, WAVE RULER, HMNZS ENDEAVOUR), two frigates (SOMERSET and HMNZS TE MANA), the RN, RNZN and RAN were able to conduct a number of combined logistics activities through the FLT, with OCEAN acting as Materiel Control Officer (MATCONOFF). These included LOG HELO operations. RANLO SINGAPORE played a leading role in arranging the various combined logistics activities, with the RSN and the RMN being keen to learn how the RAN, RNZN and RN operate together and support each other. RANLO SINGAPORE and NZDSU (SEA) personnel augmented the FLT for the duration of the exercise. Other Activities In recent years, RANLO SINGAPORE has also supported a number of other activities, including: • Tsunami Relief Operations in December 2004/January 2005 (Operation Sumatra Assist); • The recovery of SHARK 02 from Nias in 2005 (Operation Sumatra Assist II); • The International Maritime Defence Exhibition (IMDEX) Asia, which is held every second year (odd numbered years) at Changi Naval Base and at Singapore Expo; • Various visits by ADF units/personnel participating in FPDA and bilateral exercises or to attend conferences or meetings or activities with the SAF (e.g . staff college visits, ADFWC visits, etc); and • Various ADF Sports Council sanctioned visits by ADF sporting teams. In addition to these activities, RANLO SINGAPORE also maintains a close working relationship with the Defence Section at the Australian High Commission, assisting it with a range of defence and whole of government tasks such as VVIP and VIP visits (e.g . visits by the Governor General, PM, MINDEF, CN, etc), ANZAC Day (at Kranji Cemetery) and the Annual International Institute of Strategic Studies, Asia Security Summit, to name just a few. About the Author Lieutenant Commander David Dykstra joined the RAN in 1985 and has served in a variety of positions in Navy and Fleet Headquarters and in the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO). He was RANLO SINGAPORE from early December 2006 until mid July 2009, and currently works in the Directorate of Logistics Requirements & Sustainment (formerly Directorate of Logistics – Navy), in Navy Strategic Command (formerly Navy Headquarters), Canberra. Personnel interested in finding out more about RANLO SINGAPORE can visit www.ranlosingapore.com. 2 Most of these visits were to Sembawang Naval Wharves, but some were to Changi Naval Base.