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04:58 PM, March 9, 2017
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Singapore Navy Decommissions RSS Independence Patrol Vessel
RSS Independence (in front) and LMV Independence (background) at the decommissioning ceremony at Tuas Naval Base Wednesday

Singapore Navy (RSN) has decommissioned the first of its Fearless-class Patrol Vessels (PV), RSS Independence following its 20 years of service, replacing it with Littoral Mission Vessels.

LMVs will take over the duty of patrolling Singapore’s territorial waters, Singapore Ministry of Defense announced Wednesday.

The PVs have been operational starting from 1996, to the new Littoral Mission Vessels (LMV). RSS Independence and its sister ships were the first warships wholly designed and built in Singapore, under a collaborative effort by the RSN, the Defence Technology Community, and the local defence industry.

RSS Independence was commissioned on 22 Aug 1998 by then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, to take over the operational duties of Patrol Craft RSS Independence to safeguard Singapore's maritime interests and territorial integrity.

RSS Independence was involved in operations at sea, as well as in maritime surveillance, patrol and escort operations. It also participated in numerous bilateral and multilateral exercises with foreign navies.

Speaking at the sunset ceremony, RADM Lai paid tribute to RSS Independence and to the generations of its crew members. He said, 'In her years of service, RSS Independence was an integral part of the RSN's frontline force which protected Singapore's territorial waters and safeguarded our sea lines of communication.

RSS Independence will be remembered for its role in rescuing five fishermen from their capsized fishing trawler in the waters off Pedra Branca on Sep 22, 2015.

The name RSS Independence along with its operational duties will be handed over to the LMV Independence during a commissioning ceremony on 5 May 2017, to be held in conjunction with the RSN's 50th anniversary celebrations.

The LMVs are faster, more versatile, and equipped with sharper capabilities to further strengthen the RSN's effectiveness in seaward defence, and the protection of Singapore's sea lines of communication. The RSN's fleet of LMVs will be fully operational by 2020. 

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