PF-16 BRP Ramon Alcaraz, the hull seems to be done painted with the PN grey.(photo : Felix Apolinario)
MANILA, Philippines - The Navy will commission its newest warship BRP Ramon Alcaraz in the third week of November.
Navy spokesman Lieutenant Commander Gregory Fabic said the frigate is undergoing the final phase of dry docking and repainting procedure.
"The commissioning and blessing (of the ship) may be held within the third week of November,” Fabic said in a text message.
He said President Aquino was invited to attend the ceremony but his attendance in the event is still being confirmed from the Presidential Management Staff.
“We are also looking at SBMA (Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority) as the venue. But nothing is definite yet. We are still in the planning process,” Fabic said.
The government acquired the BRP Alcaraz from the United States (US) Coast Guard to enhance the Navy’s maritime security capabilities.Manned by 14 officers and 74 enlisted personnel, BRP Alcaraz reached Philippine waters last August 2 via Casiguran, Aurora.
The ship left its homeport in Charleston, South Carolina last June 10 and made port visits to San Diego and Honolulu, Hawaii before sailing for its last stopover in Guam. The BRP Alcaraz started sailing for Manila on July 27.
The ship was formally welcomed last Aug. 6 in a ceremony led by Aquino, who is also the commander-in-chief of the country’s armed forces.
The ship was named after Commodore Ramon Alcaraz, a Navy officer who commanded a patrol boat that shot three Japanese aircraft during World War II.
The US Coast Guard used the vessel for drug and migrant interdiction, law enforcement, search and rescue, living marine resources protection, and defense readiness.
BRP Alcaraz is the second frigate acquired by the Philippines from the US. The first one is BRP Gregorio del Pilar, which was commissioned by the Navy in 2011.
The government spent about P450 million to acquire BRP del Pilar and more than P600 million to acquire BRP Alcaraz. The two decades-old ships were acquired under the US defense excess article program.