MANILA – The offshore patrol vessel, BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16), is ready for deployment following its successful sea trials off the waters of Zambales, the Philippine Navy (PN) said on Friday.
“PS-16 (conducted) sea trials from September 8 to 9, 2020 within the vicinity of the Zambales area. The sea trial conducted all the systems and machinery tests that were probably affected during the fire incident,” Navy public affairs officer, Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, said in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
Roxas was referring to the fire that hit the ship’s main engine room on May 7 while it was in Cochin, India on its way home to the Philippines.
“The sea trials of BRP Ramon Alcaraz (were) conducted successfully with satisfactory results. She is now (on) Level 2 status, ready for deployment,” she said.
Sea trials are the last part of the construction or the repair process, which determines if the vessel is seaworthy or operational again.
Roxas added that the repairs were conducted by US Naval Sea Systems Command personnel, local contractors, and crewmembers aboard the BRP Ramon Alcaraz.
“This repair will also prepare the ship for her next mission,” she said.
The BRP Ramon Alcaraz along with the landing dock BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602) are the two ship-components of Naval Task Force 82 (NTF 82), which was deployed to Oman for the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East in February following tensions between the United States and Iran early this year.
When tensions between the two countries eased, the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic prompted NTF 82 to go on another mission of transporting donated face masks and repatriating stranded Filipinos due to travel restrictions in India and Sri Lanka.
The two ships departed from Sultan Qaboos, Oman on April 21 and arrived in India on April 29 to fetch a donation of 200,000 pieces of face mask from a Filipino businessman based in that country, as well as 18 Filipino tourists and workers stranded due to the pandemic.
The vessels sailed from Cochin, India on May 7 but an engine room fire aboard the BRP Ramon Alcaraz and Cyclone Amphan forced the two ships to suspend their passage home, with BRP Ramon Alcaraz undergoing temporary repairs at the Indian port.
They left Cochin on May 27 and arrived in Colombo, Sri Lanka on May 29 to pick up 12 stranded Filipino overseas workers and tourists.
The ships left the Port of Colombo midnight of May 31 for their voyage back to the Philippines, arriving in the country on June 12. (PNA)