Emotional send-off as S'pore servicemen leave for Gulf of Aden

Emotional send-off as S'pore servicemen leave for Gulf of Aden

SINGAPORE - A 151-strong Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) task group has been deployed to the Gulf of Aden as part of international counter-piracy operations.

The Republic of Singapore Navy said on its Facebook page that it was taking part in a 30-nation naval partnership "committed to the security of 2.5 million square miles of international waters, where some of the world's most important shipping lanes are located".

Singapore will undertake counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden under the ambit of CTF 151 (counter piracy) in the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF).

The 151 men and women set sail for the Gulf of Aden late last week and will remain on the mission for the next three months.

The Republic of Singapore Navy said of the emotional send-off this week: "While the loved ones of our people may not wear uniforms, we know they serve right alongside with us. And that our sacrifice is their sacrifice. The next three months will not be easy for them too."

The public can send messages to the RSS tenacious crew via www.seaofsupport.sg.

ljessica@sph.com.sg

Here is a press statement from the Singapore Armed Forces released on March 17:

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has deployed a task group in support of international counter-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden for the fifth time. Led by Colonel Cheong Kwok Chien, the 151-strong SAF task group comprises the Republic of Singapore Navy Formidable-class stealth frigate, RSS Tenacious, with a Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) Sikorsky S-70B Seahawk naval helicopter on board. During its three-month deployment, the SAF task group will operate under the ambit of the multinational Combined Task Force (CTF) 151 to undertake counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

Officiating at the send-off ceremony held at Changi Naval Base this afternoon, Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral (RADM) Ng Chee Peng underscored the SAF's steadfastness in fulfilling its commitment to support international counter-piracy efforts, with Singapore being "a responsible member of the international community and a maritime nation". He emphasised the importance of the mission to safeguard shipping and the freedom of navigation in the Gulf of Aden. He said, "These piracy attacks disrupt key sea lines of communication and maritime trade, as well as affect the safety of seafarers. This has a direct impact on countries such as Singapore that are dependent on maritime trade."

Prior to this deployment, the SAF has deployed four task groups, comprising a Landing Ship Tank with two Super Puma Helicopters in 2009, 2010 and 2011, and a Formidable-class stealth Frigate with one Sikorsky S-70B naval helicopter in 2012. The SAF has also deployed an RSAF Fokker-50 Maritime Patrol Aircraft in 2011. This year's deployment will mark the second time a Formidable-class stealth Frigate and a Sikorsky S-70B naval helicopter are deployed to the Gulf of Aden. In addition, the SAF also commanded CTF 151 in 2010, 2011 and 2013.

Members of the public may convey their support to the deployed servicemen on the Sea of Support website (http://www.seaofsupport.sg).

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