PH Navy probes grounding of flagship in West PH Sea
A special investigation committee from the Philippine Navy will try to determine what caused its flagship BRP Gregorio del Pilar (FF-15) to run aground in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) last week.
The warship was on routine patrol last August 29 when it ran aground in the vicinity of Hasa-Hasa Shoal (Half Moon Shoal), 60 nautical miles from Rizal, Palawan. No one was hurt from the incident but the ship’s propellers were damaged.
BRP del Pilar was re-floated last Monday, six days after it ran aground, and was later towed by two commercial tugboats to Subic Bay. It arrived on Friday morning.
The warship has not been dry docked since 2015 and it is scheduled to undergo repair and maintenance this year, said Navy spokesperson Cdr. Jonathan Zata.
“The incident has somewhat advanced its schedule of repair and maintenance,” he added.
Zata said the Philippine Navy will shoulder the repair costs for the warship, but he acknowledged that they have a logistics agreement with the US for the technical support for the former US vessel.
BRP del Pilar, one of the three ex-US Coast Guard cutters acquired by the Navy during the Aquino administration, is the lead ship of her class.
The commanding officer of the warship will also be relieved from his position as part of the standard operating procedure of the investigation.
Commo. Toribio Adaci Jr., the concurrent commander of the Fleet Marine Ready Force, will lead the investigation of the grounding incident.
“It is composed of key officers of the PN and is backed by technical staff and experts to enable a more thorough and in-depth inquiry,” Zata said.
The expected length of the investigation is not determined but “it will be done expeditiously but with due regard to thoroughness and due diligence.“
“The priority of the Navy is to determine the actual cause/s of the incident and ensure that appropriate actions are undertaken in order to avoid similar incidents to occur in the future,” Zata said. /kga
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