MANILA The BRP Tarlac (LD-601), one of the Philippine Navy's two newest and largest sealift vessel, was met and escorted by Chinese and Japanese coast guard vessels last Sept. 24 as it sails near a disputed group of islands in the Pacific Ocean on its way to Vladivostok, Russia.
This was disclosed by Naval Task Force 87 public affairs officer, Lt. Eduard Pablico, in a statement sent to reporters Tuesday.
He added that the crew sighted five ships approaching BRP Tarlac while underway off to a group of disputed islands known as Senkaku Islands in Japan and Diaoyu Islands in China.
"The vessels were later identified as two Chinese and three Japanese Coast Guard ships. The coast guard vessels positioned both at the left and right side of BRP Tarlac following a parallel course," Pablico added.
The Japanese and Chinese vessels altered course and separated upon reaching the north east vicinity of the area.
The event manifested the relevance of maintaining communications at sea and the Philippines' good relations with the two countries.
Earlier, a Chinese vessel in the vicinity contacted the PN ship informing the BRP Tarlac that it is transiting on their exclusive economic zone and wished the Filipino craft a safe voyage.
"A similar call was also made by the Japanese Coast Guard within the vicinity. The Japanese and Chinese vessels made alternate calls through voice radio on separate ocassions," Pablico added.
BRP Tarlac commanding officer, Capt. Estelito Lagadia, said aircraft conducting aerial surveys spotted them and informed them that they can call Channel 16 if in need of any assistance.
"I said thank you for your assistance. We are on passage for Russia," the naval officer stressed.
BRP Tarlac left Manila South Harbor on September 21 for the PN's first port call to Vladivostok, Russia. She is expected to arrive there by October 1. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency