SINGAPORE: The Republic of Singapore Navy frigate, RSS Intrepid, will begin the second leg of counter—piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden on Monday.
The warship, with 145 Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) personnel on board, is currently docked at the port of Oman.
It left Singapore on September 4 and is on a three—month mission in the Gulf, off the coast of Somalia.
Corporal (First Class) Jeremy Tseng extended his NSF term for a month just to be part of the deployment with the RSS Intrepid.
The radar and navigation specialist considers this a once—in—a—lifetime experience.
The 20—year—old hopes to see some action in the Gulf of Aden.
"It’s not that often that an NSF gets a chance to be operationally deployed, most of the time it’s actually exercises. Over the 11 months I’ve been here, I’ve made friends with all my buddies and (the) crew so I felt it would be great to come along with them," he said.
During the first leg of the mission, the frigate responded to two distress calls from merchant ships.
The second leg promises more action as pirate activities usually increase after the monsoon season at the end of September.
The crew in the frigate work on shifts.
Each shift is four hours long with an eight—hour rest.
As they are out at sea most of the time, keeping morale up is important.
Military expert Winston Nah, the ship’s chef supervisor, said: "We cook food which reminds them of home to boost their morale, to minimise their homesickness.
"During bad sea state, some of the crew will have sea sickness so we try to cook food that is more stomach—friendly and less spicy."
Living spaces on board the frigate also need some getting used to.
The ship had to be fitted with more beds to fit 145 crew members, more than double its usual capacity of 70.
To do this, some double—decker beds had to be converted to three—tier ones.
The RSS Intrepid is expected to return to Singapore in mid—December.
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