Navy chief: S'pore must guard against 'sea blindness', Singapore News & Top Stories

Singapore having access to the sea is akin to residents in a Housing Board flat enjoying free and shared use of the common corridor, said navy chief Lew Chuen Hong.

But he cautioned that Singaporeans have grown increasingly oblivious to the sea's importance, with the easy availability of goods in Singapore and the shift of its economic activities and residential areas inland.

This "sea blindness" is among the biggest challenges facing the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) today, Rear-Admiral Lew said in an interview ahead of the Navy@Vivo public outreach, which starts today.

It was his first interview since he took command in June 2017.

RADM Lew, 43, spoke to reporters on board the stealth frigate RSS Supreme, which will be open to the public for tours during the six-day event at VivoCity mall.

Navy@Vivo is one of the RSN's efforts to bring the navy and the sea to Singaporeans as a reminder of their importance, said RADM Lew.

When asked about last December's maritime intrusions by Malaysian government vessels into Singapore waters that led to bilateral tensions, RADM Lew said the facts of the case were clear. He said the 1979 boundary off Tuas that Malaysia claimed was never accepted by Singapore, and in December last year, Malaysia extended its claims beyond even that 1979 line.

The navy, along with other security agencies, was deployed during that period to assert the Republic's sovereignty in its territorial waters off Tuas, including issuing verbal warnings to encroaching vessels....

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