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Sembawang Naval Base Incident
By: Anonymous Story Submission

It happened in the mid 2000s when my friend was doing overnight shore duty in one of the naval bases. It happened on board a ship, which makes it more interesting as most of the stories were about doors, camps, landed stuff. But the ship for this story was tied alongside, one of the harbour queen. No more crew but still ran on shore supply.

Only when he drank enough when asked then he will talk.

Back then every ship had to contribute a team of officers and men to look after the ships tied up in the jetty. Each jetty will have their own duty team and by sunset the gates to the entrance at the jetty will be closed and guarded by Petty officer and men. So whoever needs to stay in or check in late in the night the guardroom will know and it will be informed to rest of the team.

That night after sun set, guard room confirmed there were no body staying in overnight in the ships. Only the duty team were in the jetty. Normally there would be 2 to 3 duty walk around in the ships to check for the conditions and more depending on the status of the ships. These walks will be done by officers and men at different time.

After the usual drills and duty brief, the team broke off to check the ships in their respective charges. On that fateful ship, my friend was having a cigarette break with a tech crew on the quarter deck, which was near a door at the back of the ship. The door was opened and you can see the walkway and the doors for the officers’ cabins are closed with the door latches fixed at 3 o’clock position. The ship was running on shore power and was well lit and ventilated.

While half way through the cigarettes, both of them unmistakably heard the sound of a door latch moved, like one of the doors of the officers’ cabins were in the process of opening. It was quiet and besides the humming of the machinery, this noise was very peculiar and best part, both his tech and him heard it. My friend was concerned that maybe some one was staying on board but forgot to registered with the duty team. Funnily, he also knew that no one will stay in because that ship has been without an assigned crew for months and nobody should be staying in when you do not have your personal belonging nor sleeping stuff available on board.

Concerned he went in with his tech, after abruptly killing off his cigarette. One by one he walked to the 3 or 4 doors that closed a cabin each and tried to pry open. None of the doors, as he expected, opened as the were locked when the ship was so called cold storage. His tech also did the same thing to ensure all doors were locked and both were satisfied………………………..“plok, plok, plok….dong, dong dong…..”

I agreed with what my friend said. When you worked long enough in an environment you can tell what are the usual sounds you hear everyday at work; from machines to men at work. That sound were from footfalls with safety boots, walking on metal deck and then to another deck which has a different material for flooring because it was a weapons compartment. ……… and it came from below the main deck when he and his tech crew was. Straightaway he radioed his guard room to check whether were there any personnel staying on board unknown to him or the duty team had men in the ship w/o his knowledge. Both said negative.

He proceeded down to the deck below to investigate with his tech crew in tow. Basically both of them walked up and down a couple of times, walkway, weapons bay and crew mess plus opened up toilet cubicles, and lower bay compartments and found not a sign of life. Both were perplexed. Both hear the sounds since from the quarter deck but could not find anybody. There was no way anybody can escaped past them because the paths were isolated by the CIC compartment mess. Anybody who passed they would have caught within an arm’s length, including ghosts.

While pondering the next step in the weapons bay, one of the sound that any duty crew feared came; “ ke klong, ke klong” …… That was the unmistakable sound of a water tight door with wheel handle door latch being moved and the CIC door was right in front of them no more than 4m away. Therefore the only way to make this sound, since there was no one in front the door, was to make it from INSIDE!! But the CIC was sealed shut and there was no way anybody can walked in w/o breaking the seal of the lock, which was still intact at that point.

Straight away he rushed up to the main deck and radioed the entire duty watch – dropped what you were doing and gather on board this ship ASAP! In matter of minutes the duty watch had assembled, partly because there were listening to his comms over the radio waves to his senior watch officer and guard post on this interesting situation. He then contacted the ship’s recent assigned XO and requested permission to open up all the compartments including the CIC to check for possible intruder. XO gave the go ahead. The duty watch was then broken into teams of 2 to check for every compartments. Inside and out. Half an hour went. All teams came up and reported nothing.

The duty watch resumed their duties, leaving my friend and his assigned tech crew perplexed. While smoking again at the quarter deck in the quiet and thinking how shd he report this incident to his superiors, out of nowhere came again the door latch noise from the main deck with the 4 doors… AGAIN…… “ke klok, ke klok…”

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