MANILA -- An investigating and assessment team has been formed to look into the grounding of the Philippine Navy flagship, BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (FF-15), off Hasa-Hasa Shoal in Palawan province on Wednesday night.
This was confirmed by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato in an interview late Friday.
The team, formed by Navy flag officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad, is expected to be aboard the ship anytime Saturday," Detoyato said in Filipino.
He said the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar is recoverable as no hull penetration has been reported.
"There is very minimal damage to the hull," Detoyato said, noting that damage seems to be confined to the starboard (right) propeller of the ship.
The Philippine Coast Guard's BRP Sindangan (MRRV 4407) arrived at the site of the grounding at 11 a.m. Friday and will be joined by the BRP Cabra (MRRV 4409) anytime soon to render assistance in case non-essential personnel need to be moved to lighten the ship.
The BRP Nestor Reinoso (PG-380) is also on hand to provide help, Detoyato said.
Earlier, he said two tugboats have left Batangas, one on Thursday and the other on Friday, to help in the recovery operations.
The BRP Gregorio Del Pilar is one of three Hamilton-class cutters acquired by the Philippine Navy from the United States Coast Guard and converted into frigates.
These ships have a gross tonnage of 3,250 tons, 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.
These vessels have a cruising range of 14,000 miles and a sea and loiter time of 45 days. They are 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