Changi Naval Base to get new name: RSS Singapura - Changi Naval Base

The basin at Changi Naval Base.
The basin at Changi Naval Base.PHOTO: MINDEF

The Republic of Singapore Navy's (RSN) Changi Naval Base will soon get a new name.

The 86ha naval facility's name will include RSS Singapura, after one of the RSN's first vessels, The Straits Times (ST) has learnt.

The new name, "RSS Singapura - Changi Naval Base", will take effect on May 15.

ST understands that the Ministry of Defence will make more announcements in the coming months.

The renaming is believed to be one of the initiatives to commemorate the RSN's 50th anniversary.

The RSS Singapura was one of three ships which the then Singapore Naval Volunteer Force (SNVF) - which was officially founded on May 5, 1967 - started with.

It was a former Japanese minelayer that was berthed at Telok Ayer Basin and was used by the SNVF as its headquarters from 1966 to 1968.

Two other ships, the RSS Panglima (Malay for "warrior") patrol craft and RSS Bedok, a former police patrol craft, plied the waters.

The RSN has also previously named a land-based facility after a vessel. The title of "RSS Panglima" is now prefixed to Changi Naval Training Base, which is near Changi Naval Base. The RSS Panglima was decommissioned in 1991.

Dr Collin Koh, a research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies' maritime security programme, said: "Naming a shore-based installation after a ship is not unique, and is practised by other navies."

Dr Koh said the name "RSS Singapura - Changi Naval Base" will serve as a reminder of the RSN's history and build esprit de corps.

"It is something to be proud of. The RSN has progressed from having rickety old gunboats to becoming a modern fleet comparable to some of the best in the world."

Mr Adrian Villanueva, 77, a business consultant, got married on the ship in December 1965. He was a naval volunteer reserve officer from 1963 to 1966.

"The RSS Singapura was used as a headquarters and for training, and for functions to host dignitaries and naval officers. It is an excellent name for a naval base," he said.

Changi Naval Base was officially opened in 2004. The RSN's other naval base is in Tuas.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2017, with the headline 'Changi Naval Base's new name to hark back to beginnings'. Print Edition | Subscribe