SHILOH completes CMAV in Singapore
SINGAPORE - The Ticonderoga Class guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67) pulled out of the port of Singapore Sept 10 after a successful planned maintenance period and port visit.
As she made her four-hour transit through the busy channel, Sailors along the outer decks could easily make out the outline of downtown Singapore on the starboard side, as well has several skyscrapers hugging the coast of the fast-growing city of Johor Bahru, on the port side. Many the skyscrapers on the port side were covered in scaffolding with cranes hovering overhead, a scene reminiscent of the work that had just been completed aboard ship over the past two weeks.
Shiloh’s presence in Singapore was due to her Continuous Maintenance Availability period (CMAV), for which she has transited from her homeport of Yokosuka, Japan, in order to accomplish critical maintenance and relieve pressure from the repair facility back in her homeport. The increased level of activity in the Seventh Fleet area of operations is the result of the overall U.S. military pivot to the western Pacific region.
Logistics Group Western Pacific (COMLOGWESTPAC) oversees ship’s maintenance in Singapore and throughout South and Southeast Asia. Cmdr. Fernando Maldonado, COMLOGWESTPAC’s assistant chief of staff for maintenance, offered some insight behind what made Shiloh’s availability particularly unique.
“This pier is typically for refueling Military Sealift Command (MSC) ships. For this CMAV getting parts, shore power and funding is a big deal. To do this availability takes a lot of coordination with our partners and allies assigned here.”
The availability package, which was put together months before the ship even left home port, started with 33 jobs and crew throughout the availability period, eventually swelling to 112.
Marlon Abreu, Shiloh’s Port Engineer, is the point of contact between any depot-level work requested by the ship, and is responsible for coordinating the work for the ship. He flew from Tokyo to Singapore to oversee the overall state of maintenance, to include the high-priority jobs as well.
“The advantage to coming out here is you can take care of a lot of low-hanging fruit—to include low priority jobs—which leaves more time for the higher priority jobs when we get back to Yokosuka.” Lower priority jobs include replacement of lagging (insulation for the hull, pipes and bulkheads) and the stripping and repainting of decks.
“The disadvantage is that we lose a lot of the Yokosuka services like Fleet Tech Assist (FTA), Surface Ship Engineering Maintenance Assist Team (SEMAT), Corrosion Control Assistance Team (CCAT), and Total Ship’s Readiness Assessment (TSRA), because you have to fly them all out here.”
Despite the limitations that come with having to fly in tech support and assessment personnel, Mr. Abreu managed to coordinate some important evolutions such as the Gas Turbine Readiness Review (GTRR), which is a part of the TSRA. “We flew in the same guys as those who came to change out Number One GTG (Gas Turbine Generator). Since they were already here to change out the GTG, we went ahead and had the GTRR done for all four main engines and Number Two GTG.”
Similar negotiations enabled the impromptu assessments of all four of the ship’s air conditioning units. After FTA personnel had come aboard to swap the ship’s Number One Refrigerator compressor, it was simply a matter of asking them to stay a little longer to do the A/C assessments.
For Mr. Abreu, the biggest concern is parts. They are either ordered well in advance and shipped to the maintenance facility, or the ship brings the necessary parts herself.
Difficulty procuring a part can hold up a very high-level job, but the COMLOGWESTPAC team has displayed excellent resourcefulness in gathering them. For example, all three walk-in refrigerator doors, which SHILOH’s Auxiliaries Division had been attempting to procure for over a year, were shipped to Singapore.
“They don’t give up,” continues Mr. Abreau. “Any time an issue arises from not having a part, their response is, ‘Let me see if I can find it for you.’”
Despite the large amount of work happening in Sembawang, a lot of time was set aside for crew morale. In addition to regular liberty at the end of the workday and during the weekends, time was set aside during the work day for physical training. In particular, the SHILOH “Captain’s Cup” tournament pitted departments and divisions against each other in a myriad of sports, including basketball, soccer, dodgeball, and weight lifting. Points were accumulated for wins in each sport. Ultimately, it was Operations department that took the trophy.
“Singapore was great,” remarked Petty Officer Third Class Ian Ibrahim, from Beacon, New York. We got a lot of work done, and took care of the spaces. It was a good time both on and off the ship.”
Also during her CMAV, SHILOH hosted a luncheon and guided tour attended by the Swedish ambassador to Singapore, Mr. Hakan Jevrell, and several members of Sweden’s parliament.
With the completion of SHILOH’s CMAV comes a new precedent for the upkeep of forward deployed ships. Though many logistical challenges remain with the procurement of parts and the flying-in of necessary technicians, CDR Fernando and his team are rapidly increasing both the capacity and capability of Sembawang’s repair facilities.
As Mr. Abreu summarizes, “The biggest thing is that we are building those capabilities. We are paving the way for other ships to come here.”
Shiloh is on patrol off the coast of Singapore in support of security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.