MANILA: The BRP Tarlac (LD-601), the country’s first Strategic Sealift Vessel (SSV), has safely anchored off the Manila South Harbor breakwater before midnight Saturday, Philippine Navy (PN) spokesman Capt. Lued Lincuna said on Sunday.
Prior to docking at Pier 13, the ship and its crew will undergo Customs, Immigration and Quarantine, Lincuna said.
BRP Tarlac’s formal welcome to the PN is scheduled on the afternoon of May 16.
Lincuna said BRP Tarlac entered Philippine territory upon entering Sibutu passage, Tawi-Tawi on Thursday.
BRP Tarlac left the Surabaya shipyard of Indonesian contract PT PAL (Persero) last May 9.
Prior to departure, it successfully concluded her sea trials, Lincuna added.
Sea trials refer to the testing phases, which aim to check the performance of all machineries and equipment of the SSV.
“It is also conducted to check and measure the ship’s general performance and seaworthiness,” Lacuna said.
The Philippines has a two-SSV order with PT PAL (Persero) for P3.87 billion which is sourced from the AFP Modernization Fund.
The SSV acquisition project for the PN was initiated upon the approval of Acquisition Decision Memorandum Number 2012-060 by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin last October 30, 2013.
The Department of National Defense declared Persero as the Single Calculated Responsive Bidder with a bidding price of P3.87 billion on November 18, 2014.
The SSVs are programed to be the PN’s floating command center carrying out their main purpose as military sealift and transport vessels and also for humanitarian assistance and disaster response.
The ships are estimated to weigh around 7,300 gross register tons.
These vessels are also critical assets for civil-military operations because of their capability of transporting large number of soldiers, logistics and supplies.
Moreover, each SSV has the capacity to house three helicopters. The Navy’s Augusta Westland-109s are programed to be on-board components of these vessels.
These landing platform dock strategic sealift vessels will improve the transport capability of the PN and boost the defense capabilities of the country.