Newly Acquired Philippine Navy Ship Sets Off for Philippines
By: LTCOL OMAR L TONSAY PN(M)(GSC)
San Francisco, California – Newly acquired Philippine Navy ship BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15) sets off on Monday (July 18, 2011) from San Francisco, California for her three (3) week voyage to the Philippines.
In an order issued by Philippine Navy Flag Officer in Command, Vice Admiral Alexander P Pama, he said that, “The sendoff will signal the last leg of activities for BRP Gregorio del Pilar in the US and will start the first leg of its journey for the Philippines.” He added that, “All preparations have been made for this long trip home as the actual send-off takes place on July 18, 2011 at 4 pm.”
PF-15 was turned over to the Philippine Government last May 13, 2011 during turnover rites attended by Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia Jr., US Coast Guard Pacific Area & Defense Force West Commander, Vice Admiral Manson K. Brown, and Philippine Defense and Armed Forces Attache to the US, PN Captain Antonio A Habulan Jr.
The send-off marks the second leg in PF-15’s voyage towards Philippine maritime security operations, the first being the turn-over. It will be attended by Vice Admiral Pama and Philippine Deputy General Consul to San Francisco, Wilfredo Santos. PF-15 was acquired through the United States Excess Defense Act (EDA) using Department of Energy Malampaya Project funds. The 3-week journey of PF-15 will include stopovers at Hawaii and Guam for replenishment before reaching Philippine shores.
BRP Gregorio del Pilar was largely used by the US Coast Guard for drug and migrant interdiction, law enforcement, search and rescue, living marine resources protection, and defense readiness. The Philippine Navy on the other hand, intends to use this multi-mission vessel for operations such as maritime security patrols and search and rescue. But more specifically, it will be deployed to aid in the maritime security of the Malampaya Project west of Palawan.
In the US, BRP Gregorio del Pilar is classified as a Hamilton Class US Coast Guard Cutter specifically designated as a Weather High Endurance Cutter (WHEC). In the Philippines, it is classified as a Surface Combatant Ship with a “Type Code” of “P” for Patrol and is further classified as a Frigate with a “Type Code” of “F”, hence the designation of “PF”. They are powered by combined diesel engines and gas turbines and are equipped with a helicopter flight deck, a retractable hangar, and facilities to support helicopter operations. The following are the characteristics of the vessel:
Draft: 15’ 7”
Displacement (Full Load) 3390 LT
Max Speed (Diesel / Turbine): 16 / 26 kts
Range: 14,000 nm
Endurance: 30 days
Crew (Officer/Enlisted): 162 (18/144)
Crew Capacity: 180
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