THE Philippine Navy announced on Tuesday the arrival of the country’s third Hamilton-class cutter, which officials described as primarily important for the Navy’s maritime security and sovereignty patrols.
Capt. Lued Lincuna, Navy spokesman, said a Navy islander would do a low pass as BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF-17), coming from Guam, enters the San Bernardino Strait, a narrow waterway separating Luzon and Samar, Tuesday afternoon.
Before entering Corregidor, Lincuna said the cutter would be met by either FF-11 or FF-15, whichever is available.
“Then she will be welcomed by other ships assigned at the Naval Forces Southern Luzon and a low pass of an islander aircraft,” he added.
Formerly named as USGC Boutwell (WHEC-719), it was decommissioned in March 16, 2016 at Naval Base San Diego, California and was later passed on by the United States to the Philippine government through the Excess Defense Articles program.
An arrival ceremony to formally welcome the ship will be held on Friday at at Pier 13, South Harbor, Manila. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is expected to attend the occasion.
The highlight of the event, according to Lincuna, will be the tribute to and recognition of efforts of sailors who were instrumental in the ship’s safe and successful voyage to the Philippines.
The Navy official said the additional asset would be a big boost to the Navy’s capabilities.
“Just like BRP Gregorio del Pilar (FF-15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF-16), the other two Del Pilar Class Frigates (DPCF), FF17 will be primarily important for the Navy’s maritime security and sovereignty patrols in line with the Navy’s mandate to protect the people and the state,” he pointed out.
Built in 1967 at the Avondale Shipyards in New Orleans, the cutter engages in many US Coast Guard missions, including search and rescue, law enforcement, maritime security and national defense. FERNAN MARASIGAN