SINGAPORE - The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex arrived in Singapore for a scheduled port visit Oct. 30.

During the visit, Essex Sailors will have an opportunity to experience Singaporean culture, as well as share some of their own. Scheduled events include basketball and softball tournaments and tours sponsored by Essex’s moral, welfare and recreation department (MWR).

“The crew is really looking forward to visiting Singapore,” said Capt. Troy Hart, Essex’s commanding officer. “Any time we have the chance to interact with the local community in an overseas port it’s a great opportunity for us to learn about them and for them to learn about us.”

While in Singapore, more than 140 Sailors from Essex and nearly 100 Sailors and Marines from the Essex Amphibious Ready Group will compete in basketball and softball tournaments with local teams.

The event will consist of two tournaments with nine basketball and 10 softball teams. There will be trophies and food sponsored by MWR Singapore and Essex.

“We have no doubt that this event will be successful and hope that the sporting events in other countries will see increasing participation,” said Gaston.

Despite being one of the smallest countries in the world, Singapore holds the title of the fastest growing economy and the busiest shipping port on the planet according to a recent article in The Straits Times. It is the second most densely populated country, as well as one of the most diverse, given that half of the country’s five million people are foreigners working and studying there according to Bloomberg News.

Many Essex Sailors are also expecting an experience they’ll remember for a long time, as they enjoy liberty in the world’s largest city-state.

"It should be a very interesting port visit," said Yeoman Seaman Recruit Victor Navarro. "I'm really looking forward to the sporting events that are going to be held there. I'm also looking forward to going to Universal Studios."

The visit will be Essex’s second this year. A previous visit in February marked the first time the ship has visited Singapore in 14 years.

Essex, commanded by Capt. Troy Hart, is part of the forward-deployed Essex Amphibious Ready Group and is on patrol in the Western Pacific.