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Patriot Sailors Visit the City of Batam, Republic of Indonesia

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070529-05
Release Date: 5/29/2007 8:12:00 AM

By Chief Electricians Mate (SW) Noel B. Corneja, USS Patriot Public Affairs

BATAM, Indonesia (NNS) -- The crew of USS Patriot (MCM 7) sailed through calm seas from Republic of Indonesia’s Surabaya through the Riau Islands to arrive at the island of Batam May 17.

The three-day stop at the island gave Sailors a chance to enjoy liberty and socialize with the local population, who welcomed the crew wholeheartedly.

Patriot was visited by Bopa Risman Bakrie, who is the administrative assistant to the governor. Along with him were high ranking officers from Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI), the Indonesian Armed Forces.

“I am happy that Patriot visited Batam. This is a great beginning and will make our two countries become even closer. I am also appreciative about being welcomed cordially on board your ship,” said Bakrie.

Indonesia is a key strategic partner to the United States, according to Lt. Cmdr. Thomas E. Shultz, Patriot’s commanding officer. Shultz said it was very important to visit in order to form new relationships forge new relationships.

“This was really a worthwhile visit,” said Shultz. “The people, Indonesian Navy and Marines, and local government, all welcomed Patriot with open arms. This visit really helped to foster and grow our relationship with Indonesia, and highlighted our common goal of peace, security and stability in the region.”

Prior to Bantam, Patriot visited Surabaya, an equally successful visit.

With over 3,000 islands part of this archipelago nation, Indonesia borders one of the most vital shipping routes in the world, the Straits of Malacca. The three nations of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia work closely together to ensure the continuous free flow of trade through the straits.

Batam island, known for a free trade zone as a part of the Sijori Growth Triangle, is located just 15 miles south of Singapore, merely 45 minutes by boat from Sentosa Island.

Sailors mingled and made friends with the locals who warmly greeted Patriot as it arrived at the seaport city with a population of 700,000. The harbor was developed 37 years ago, when in 1970 the island underwent major transformation from a dense forest area into a major industrial zone and an open seaport.

The Patriot crew enjoyed the short stay at Batam due to plentiful merchandise to be purchased and social activities.

“This place is great; people I met were very friendly and asking directions was never a problem, and there’s plenty means of transportation. The nightlife is less restrictive; this reminds me of home. I can communicate easily and bargain anytime almost anywhere here.” said Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Chenyu Tsui.

Overall, the mission was achieved, said Shultz, in creating better relationships with Indonesia.

Patriot and USS Guardian (MCM 5) with embarked Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5, Detachment 51 are both currently on a long-term deployment in Southeast Asia to support the U.S. 7th Fleet’s interoperability and training commitments in mine neutralization warfare and maritime operations. Patriot and Guardian serve under Task Force 76, based out of Okinawa, Japan with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

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