Military activates joint task force to retrieve Del Pilar
A joint task force was activated to retrieve Philippine Navy flagship BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (FF15) that ran aground at the vicinity of Hasa-Hasa Shoal in the West Philippine Sea last Wednesday.
Col. Noel Detoyato, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief said Joint Task Force “Goyong” will be led by Commodore Rommel Jason Galang, commander of the Naval Forces West.
“Commodore Rommel Galang is the onsite commander. He was flown in by the Philippine Navy’s AW109 helicopter,” he said.
“He (Galang) will manage, supervise and direct the retrieval operations. He was formerly assigned with the naval sea systems command. He was flown in so that the ship captain of BRP Del Pilar can concentrate on the day-to-day operations of FF15 and the safety and security of his ship,” he added.
Detoyato said the joint task force “has Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine Air Force (PAF) and Philippine Navy (PN) components under it.”
He said the initial assessment has been made by the FF15 crews and the divers from the BRP Sindangan Multi-Role Response Vessel (MRRV 4407) of the Philippine Coast Guard.
“They are now planning the method of retrieving or extraction based on the gathered data by the divers. PCG (BRP Cabra) MRRV 4409 is near the site to augment our efforts,” Detoyato said.
“The PCG has divers from MRRV 4407 who help on the assessment on the condition of the grounded vessel, to plan for the right approach for its retrieval," he stated.
"So, while waiting for the tugboats and other PCG and Navy platforms to arrive, surface and underwater assessments are being done to come up with the right plan of retrieval,” he added.
Detoyato said the Philippine Navy assessment team left on Friday but he did not say if they have arrived in the area.
He said the military has a patrol ship and aircraft conducting air surveillance operation in the area. Robina Asido/DMS