PH's latest warship starts sea trials
MANILA, Philippines - The BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), the Philippine Navy’s newest warship, began its sea trials on Monday, May 20, as part of preparations for its journey to the Philippines, the Philippine Embassy in Washington said.
In a statement, the embassy said the BRP Ramon Alcaraz headed out to sea at 8:30 a.m. Monday local time from the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in North Charleston, South Carolina.
The warship has been undergoing refurbishment and refitting at a cost of $15.15 million since it was acquired by the Philippines in May 2012.
Navy Capt. Elson Aguilar, Defense and Naval Attaché of the Embassy, said the warship would stay out at sea for 3 days to test its propulsion and other systems before returning to port on Thursday, May 23.
“We want to make sure everything is in place before the Alcaraz finally sets sail for the Philippines before the middle of next month,” Captain Aguilar said.
Meanwhile, the vessel’s 14 officers and 74 crewmembers, led by Capt. Ernesto Baldovino, have also been undergoing training since the turnover last year.
The 378-foot-long Alcaraz was commissioned in 1968 and served with the US Coast Guard as the US Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Dallas until it was decommissioned and turned over to the Philippines in May.
The vessel was named after Commodore Ramon Alcaraz, a Philippine Navy officer who commanded a patrol boat that shot down 3 Japanese aircraft during World War II.
This is the second Hamilton-class cutter that was acquired by the Philippine navy. The first, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF15), was turned over to the Philippine Navy in May 2011.
In 2012, the Del Pilar was involved in the Scarborough Shoal standoff.
Aguilar said both the Alcaraz and the del Pilar are capable of conducting patrols for long periods of time and withstanding heavy weather and rough sea conditions. – Rappler.com