Big PH Navy ships need home—Bacordo
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Navy said it needs to have its own docking area for its biggest vessels.
In recent years, the Navy acquired more vessels for its fleet, including former US Coast Guard cutters Del Pilar-class ships BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PS-15), BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16) and BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17); landing docks BRP Tarlac (LD-601) and BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602) and the former Pohang-class corvette BRP Conrado Yap (PS-39).
In the last few months, brand new warships were acquired—the missile-capable frigates BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) and the future BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151).
None of these ships have ever been to any Navy base because there was no space to house them.
Having an infrastructure capable of maintaining its vessels remained on the Navy’s wish list, said Navy chief Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo.
“Since Del Pilar capital vessels arrived, landing docks Tarlac-class, Jose Rizal class, not one of them has docked in any Navy facility,” Bacordo told reporters on Friday (Feb. 26).
He said the Navy always uses civilian facilities in South Harbor in Manila, Subic and other commercial ports found all over the country. But “not one” of the Navy ships “ever docked in a Navy facility.”
“Our Navy facility is not capable,” Bacordo said. “Our wish list is to have harbor facilities that can accommodate all of these capital vessel of ours,” he said.
Bacordo said Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, who was guest of honor at the arrival ceremony of BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), has offered help in building bases for the Navy.
The Navy chief said Villar had told him to identify the site for Navy ships “and he will assist us especially in the construction of the roads leading to those bases.”
He said the Navy was setting its sights on rehabilitating its pier in Zamboanga City and Tawi-Tawi province. The Oyster Bay Navy detachment in Palawan also needed beacons “to guide our vessels.”
“Ideally, all bases and stations with harbor facilities should be able to accommodate all of the Philippine Navy vessels,” Bacardo said.
The Navy is expected to occupy a portion of the bankrupt Hanjin shipyard in Subic Bay, but the pandemic stalled those plans.
Bacordo said the area is ideal for large fleet vessels because of its deep and protected harbor.
The Navy also hopes that its plans to acquire offshore patrol vessels, corvettes, submarines, shore-based anti-ship and anti-air missiles would finally move forward, he said.