In a send-off ceremony attended by Filipino-American leaders at the U.S. Coast Guard in Alameda, California, ninety-five Filipino sailors concluded their five-month stay in America and proudly boarded the Philippines’ newest and biggest warship for their month-long ravel to the Philippine shores.
The Philippines has acquired the former Hamilton-Class US Coast Guard cutter from the United States, under the US Excess Defense Act last May for more than $10 million.
Now called Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas: Gregorio del Pilar, the ship has 5 floors and boasts of a helicopter flight deck and a retractable hangar.
Malacañang said the 3,000-ton ship will patrol the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), close to the disputed Spratly Islands.
Following the acquisition of BRP Gregorio del Pilar, officials said the Philippines plans to acquire 2 more ships from the US as part of President Aquino’s commitment to upgrade the equipment of the country’s Armed Forces.