PH ships deployed for Mideast repatriation to refuel in Sri Lanka

By Priam Nepomuceno

January 22, 2020, 2:53 pm

<p>BRP Davao del Sur (left) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz. <em>(File photo)</em></p>

BRP Davao del Sur (left) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz. (File photo)

MANILA -- Strategic sealift vessel BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602) and its escort BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16) will have a stopover in Sri Lanka before heading to the Middle East to assist in the repatriation of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

"They are now in the Strait of Malacca (in Malaysia). Per plan, they will refuel in Sri Lanka before heading for Oman," Philippine Navy (PN) public affairs office chief Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas said in a message to the Philippine News Agency Wednesday when sought for updates on the flotilla which left Pier 13, Manila South Harbor last January 13.

The ships are expected to arrive in the south Asian nation by January 26 or 27 and will head for Oman after refueling.

PN flag-in-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad earlier said the voyage to the Middle East will last around 16 to 22 days.

The PN chief added that the vessels will be docking at a safe port in the region.

Empedrad also instructed the PN contingent to be "alert and safe" and that the safety of the crew and the ship(s) is always paramount at all times.

Also, the PN chief said that they are making the necessary coordination for refueling, reprovisioning and docking during the course of the mission.

The deployment of the naval task force is in support of the AFP Joint Task Force “Pagpauli” mission in the Middle East and in line with the interagency undertaking Oplan Pagbabalik to ensure the safe repatriation of OFWs in Iran, Iraq and other areas in the Middle East.

The BRP Davao del Sur and BRP Ramon Alcaraz will serve as sea-based platforms that can provide decent accommodations and necessities for OFWs affected by tensions in the Middle East. (PNA)