Life in Singapore


One of the floating dry docks here in the yard - That's not us in there in case you're wondering

Greetings from Singapore where we are now firmly embedded within the Tuas Dockyard undergoing a maintenance package as part of HMNZS CANTERBURY's 15-year docking programme.

It took us some 2 weeks to sail here from Auckland where we had a delayed start owing to one of the ship's company (That'll be me then...) testing positive for Covid... Thankfully the second test proved to be negative (As did the retest of the first sample they took) so we managed to set sail and 'Go West!' (With quite a lot of North thrown in too for good measure). It made for an emotional rollercoaster 24 hours though!

As some of you will remember I was taking some Leave Without Pay a little while back but the sitting Engineer Officer on CANTERBURY has gone off to take some well earned parental leave and as such I was asked to step in and take the reins for a few months.

This I was quite happy to do as this will almost certainly be my last ever stint at sea as part of a ship's company and as such presents a fitting end to my life as a seagoer. Hereafter the plan is to head back to a position in the HQ in Wellington which will be interesting but will mean life behind a desk for the future. It's a sad reality of getting older/more senior/wiser (I'm still not sure about the last bit!) that you become desk-bound but there we are I guess.

With that in mind I wanted to make my last sea stint something memorable and being part of a docking here in Singapore will certainly give me that. Plus it gives me some closure as when I last left CANTERBURY it wasn't necessarily on the terms I wished it to be for various reasons.

The big personal drawback is being away from Emma and the dogs for a number of months. Modern communications make keeping in touch a whole lot easier of course but the distance is always there and with NZ going into a full Level 4 lockdown it'd be even nicer than normal to be back at home just now. 

The Singaporean authorities are doing a fine job of monitoring people and their movements but they too are fairly heavily locked down at the moment - They haven't even accepted our official NZ vaccination cards as proof of us having received both jabs. Temperatures are taken pretty much everywhere you go and masks need to be worn everywhere, no easy task when dealing with the heat, especially when conducting a main fuel tank inspection with the Lloyd's Register representative in the middle of the afternoon...

At some point soon I will manage to get a day off and have a little look around Singapore itself. Sadly it's been all work thus far as things get into their swing. Here's hoping that we get a bit of a break sometime soon as tempers are starting to fray with the constant work and incessant heat and humidity.

Anyway, I hope that you are all well wherever you find yourselves reading this. I'll try and post some more photos of the ship once she is in dock as well as some of the Singaporean sights as there's plenty to see and do by the looks of it.

Take care and I'll speak again soon.   


  1. Great post Lee and great news about the erroneous Covidtest! Definitely a fitting end to your seagoing duties but being on shore from now on leaves more time for motorcycling. Always a silver lining everything! Take good care of yourself up there mate.

    1. Hi Geoff - Yes the Covid piece was rather alarming to be honest but it all turned out well in the end. It was quite a challenge for the ship though happening so close to the sailing date.

  2. Thanks for the update Lee, glad the Covid thing was a false start! I was last in Singapore in 1988 for station leave and had a great time - stayed at the Fernleaf Centre but understand it is no longer? Never say never to the seagoing thing - do SMEO's not go to sea??🤔.... I've sent an email to your hotmail account, so hope you've managed to see it. Anyway, hope you can get some time off to enjoy the sights!

    1. Hi Ian

      It's true about the Fernleaf centre. Not much chance of me being a SMEO as we don't have them. Too small 'ya see. I've finally got a day off so am going to go for a bit of a wander today.

    2. I sense a job creation opportunity - the RNZN needs a SMEO!

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