Coast Guard sends two MRRVs to help retrieve Navy flagship
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) deployed two Multi Role Response Vessels (MRRV) to assist in the retrieval operation for the Philippine Navy flagship that ran aground in the vicinity of Hasa-Hasa Shoal in West Philippine Sea.
Capt. Armando Balilo, PCG spokesman, said BRP Sindangan (MRRV 4407) and BRP Cabra (MRRV 4409) were sent to assist in the retrieval of BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (FF15).
Col. Noel Detoyato, Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs office chief , said BRP Sindangan arrived in the vicinity of Hasa-hasa Shoal around 11 am.
“When we move the vessel, we need to unload the passengers so the PCG is there is there to serve as an extra platform for the crew,” he said.
Detoyato said the grounded vessel may be removed from the shoal by next week as the two tugboats that will be used to retrieve the vessel is still on its way towards the area.
“The tugboats will come from Batangas pier where it was based, one of which has left yesterday while the other one will leave today, two tugboats,” he said.
Balilo said MRRV 4407 has two medical teams onboard, and our two SOU ( special operations unit) divers with underwater camera.
“The MRRV-4409 is now proceeding at the scene. It is the vicinity of Sulu Sea at 22 knots speed,” Balilo added.
Detoyato said the timeline will depend on the arrival of the tugboats in the area.
"(Maybe) by next week we will able to remove that (FF15) there, because by this weekend we expect the tugboats to arrive in the area, anyway it is secured because we already have floating assets within the vicinity,” he added.
Detoyato said the engine and other systems of the ship are working.
“The side potion (of the ship) grounded the shoal because it has thrusters on its sides. Those are the small propellers on the side which moves when you conduct a maneuver,” he said. “The damage on its hull is very minimal.;”.
Detoyato said the incident is not intentional and assures the military will remove the ship.
“It’s not intentional. It ran aground. It’s not head on, side, it’s on the side,” he said.
“Yes we will remove that. It just depends on the speed of small tugboats. They are strong in pulling (the vessel) but the speed is slow,” he added. Robina Asido/DMS