The Philippine Navy (PN) vessels, BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS16) and BRP Davao Del Sur (LD602) made a historical mark as they made a stop at the East Container Terminal in The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, January 26, Sunday noontime.
The Naval Task Force 82 “OplanPagbabalik” contingent was deployed and bound for Middle East to help in the repatriation of OFWs affected by the looming tensions there. This is the PN’s support operation to the AFP Joint Task Force, “Pagpauli.”
Said layover was intended for refueling and reprovisioning only but Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) desired to host it as official visit as it was the first time for PN ships and personnel to pass by this territory and traverse the Indian Ocean.
The Naval Task Force (NTF) 82 headed by Marine Colonel Noel Beleran was accorded a welcome ceremony by counterparts from SLN Western Naval Area (WNA). The party then set to pay courtesy to the WNA commander, Rear Admiral Sumith Ananda Weerasinghe. Other confidence building activities include shipboard tour, cultural show, basketball game and reciprocal dinners.
This visit is another milestone for the Philippines-Sri Lanka relations that was established in 1961 and recently being sustained and enhanced by naval diplomacy. It can be recalled that SLN ship P626 made its first-time goodwill visit to Manila in April 2019.
Moreover, the historic sail on Indian Ocean by PN ships validates its status as a Navy that is now capable to sustain operations across open oceans. NAVY.MIL.PH