Philippine Daily Inquirer,Thursday,August 18,2011
THE PHILIPPINE Navy’s newly-acquired warship, BRP Gregorio Del Pilar, arrived in the country yesterday ahead of schedule after a month-long voyage from the United States.
The refurbished former US Coast Guard Hamilton-class weather high endurance cutter will be deployed to protect the country’s natural gas and oil exploration projects off Palawan amid reported incursions in Philippine-claimed territory in the West Philippine Sea.
Manned by 13 officers and 82 enlisted personnel under the command of Capt. Alberto Cruz, the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar entered Philippine territory at 1 p.m. yesterday, a Navy spokesman said.
Around 2:30 p.m., the ship was 273 nautical miles east of Samar and was expected to pass the San Bernardino Strait off the Bicol region, said Lt. Col. Omar Tonsay.
The BRP Gregorio Del Pilar is expected to anchor drop at Manila Bay on Aug. 21 at 8 a.m. to undergo customs, immigration and quarantine inspection.