Navy looking into cause of flagship’s grounding

MANILA -- With Philippine Navy (PN) flagship BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (FF-15) safely docked in Subic Bay, Zambales, the focus is now on determining the actual cause of its Aug. 29 grounding off Hasa-Hasa Shoal in Palawan province.

"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. Likewise, the ship's expeditious restoration to operational status is the intended outcome of the dry-docking and repair of (the) FF-15," PN spokesperson Commander Jonathan Zata said Friday.

The Navy has created an investigation committee to look into the grounding of BRP Gregorio Del Pilar and determine the facts behind the incident.

Zata said Commodore Toribio Adaci Jr., Fleet-Marine Ready Force head, will chair the committee, which will consist of key officers of the Navy and will be backed by technical staff and experts to enable a more thorough and in-depth inquiry.

The results of the investigation will be submitted to PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad as soon as it is completed, without prejudice to thoroughness and due diligence.

"Concurrently, FF-15 will be inspected to determine the extent of repairs to be conducted. FF-15 was last dry-docked in 2015 and is scheduled to undergo repair and maintenance in 2018. The incident has somewhat advanced its schedule of repair and maintenance. The extent and cost of repairs will be determined as soon as inspection has been completed," Zata added.

BRP Gregorio Del Pilar was towed clear of Hasa-Hasa Shoal at about 11:54 p.m. on Monday and arrived in Subic Bay at about 11:50 a.m. Friday.

It is one of three Hamilton-class cutters acquired by the PN from the United States Coast Guard and converted into frigates.

Each ship has a gross tonnage of 3,250 tons, a length of 378 feet, beam of 43 feet, and draft of 15 feet while its propulsion systems consist of two diesel engines and two gas turbine engines, giving it a top speed of 29 knots.

It has a cruising range of 14,000 miles and a sea and loiter time of 45 days. Each vessel is armed with a 76-mm. Oto Melara automatic cannon, 25-mm. and 20-mm. light cannons, and .50-caliber machine guns. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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