Sailors from the Quality Assurance (QA) team aboard the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) hosted officers from the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) for a Submarine Safety Program (SUBSAFE) seminar in Sepangar, Malaysia, April 15.
The purpose of the seminar was to give the RMN officers some insight into how the U.S. Navy’s SUBSAFE program works so they can develop something similar.
“It’s quite interesting,” said Capt. Abdul Jamal, the logistics chief of staff for the RMN submarine headquarters. “If possible, we want to get everyone involved because SUBSAFE is very important and we would like to have our own SUBSAFE program.”
Jamal has been trying to implement a similar system for several years because as it is now, the RMN has contractors doing most of their repair and QA work. Jamal hopes to change this and have more of the every day repair and QA be handled by his sailors instead of civilians.
“It seems like their crews are smaller, so they want assurance that work is going to be done without having to rely on someone else,” said U.S. Navy Chief Warrant Officer Keith Wilber, Frank Cable’s quality assurance officer during the ship’s underway evolutions.
During the lecture, Frank Cable Sailors went over technical work documents that detail how to safely conduct maintenance on hazardous systems as well as the testing and inspection of parts. The interactive class had the RMN officers and Frank Cable Sailors paired up so they could discuss and review Joint Fleet Maintenance Manuals and have any of their questions answered by subject matter experts.
“You can actually tell that they wanted to get deeper into the books,” said Wilber. “The more that we talked about the QA forms and how they relate to the parts and maintenance standards, I saw their eyes open and they were really interested in the overlapping of accountability that actually occurs.”
After the exchange of ideas, the RMN officers were given a tour of the ship and its repair spaces. Jamal said he enjoyed the tour and was impressed with the ship.
“People say seeing is believing; so now we believe it,” said Jamal. “Maybe next time, I will be able to bring more of my sailors in for the QA seminar and to see the ship.”
Frank Cable, forward deployed to the island of Guam, conducts maintenance and support of submarines and surface vessels deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility and is currently on a scheduled underway period.
Press Release, April 17, 2014; Image: US Navy