After force majeure postponed its earlier travel back to the Philippines, landing dock BRP Davao Del Sur (LD602) finally resumed homeward voyage today, May 27, with newly-repaired BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS16).
The two Philippine Navy vessels will make a brief stop at the Port of Colombo in Sri Lanka on May 29 to repatriate 12 more Filipino tourists and overseas workers stranded due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They will join the 19 repatriates from India in separate rooms inside LD602 with 24-hour monitoring by an onboard medical team.
LD602 originally left for Manila by itself on May 9 and already reached Sri Lanka when it was compelled to return to India to take shelter from the brewing storm in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea.
Such delay also gave ample time for the other component of the Naval Task Force (NTF) 82 under Joint Task Force “Pagpauli,” PS16 to catch up with LD602 after it was forced to return and stay in the Port of Cochin to undergo needed repair works following the fire that broke out in its engine room on May 7.
The Philippines existing defense cooperation with India paved the way for the latter’s navy to provide expertise and assistance to our PN personnel, leading up to the restoration of the ships main propulsion, generators, auxiliary systems and other essential equipment. PS16 has been restored to being seaworthy and is now sailing in convoy with LD602.
The unavailability of flights due to the pandemic situation hindered the transport of material support from the US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), however, their subject matter experts and needed logistics will be available once PS16 arrives in Subic.
This journey has truly magnified the resiliency and determination of our personnel amid these turbulent times, that no matter what obstacles are faced along the way, they will carry on with the mission, which becomes even more worthy as NTF 82 aims to bring home safely displaced Filipinos and face masks essential to our efforts against the coronavirus disease. NAVY.MIL.PH