MANILA – The Philippine Navy’s (PN) offshore patrol vessel, BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16), has returned to Cochin, India for repairs after a fire incident in its main engine room on Thursday night.
“The BRP Ramon Alcaraz has returned to Cochin, India. Luckily, the damage sustained was a minor one and the ship was able to sail into port under its own power and unassisted,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement forwarded to reporters on Saturday.
Lorenzana said one of the two sailors who were reported injured in the fire was receiving treatment in an Indian medical facility, while the other was in the vessel’s sickbay.
The BRP Ramon Alcaraz, along with BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602), sailed out of Cochin, India last Thursday after fetching a donation of 200,000 face masks and 18 Filipino tourists stranded due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak.
Before the incident, the ships were expected to arrive in the Philippines by the last week of May.
“Since the BRP (Ramon) Alcaraz was acquired from the US, the US Navy’s Naval Systems Command (Navsea) will assist in the conduct of its repairs,” Lorenzana said, adding that the Philippines would use its diplomatic mechanisms and defense cooperation agreement with India to facilitate and expedite the repair work on the ship so that it could soon return to the country.
The two ships, which composed the PN Naval Task Force 82, sailed from Sultan Qaboos, Oman last April 21 and arrived in India on April 29.
They were deployed to Oman last February as a contingency measure should a large evacuation of overseas Filipino workers be needed following tensions between the United States and Iran. (ia/PNA)