NAVY CONTINGENT IN OMAN. Members of the Philippine Navy contingent meet with officials of the Philippine Embassy in Oman headed by Ambassador Narciso Castañeda (center) in a courtesy call in Muscat on Wednesday (Feb. 5, 2020). The naval contingent is tasked to evacuate overseas Filipino workers in the Middle East who would avail of repatriation. (Photo courtesy of Naval Public Affairs Office)

MANILA -- The Philippine Navy (PN) on Thursday said the strategic sealift vessel BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602) and offshore patrol ship BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16), which are tasked to evacuate Filipino overseas workers in the Middle East, finally arrived and docked off Muscat, Oman Wednesday afternoon.

Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, PN public affairs office chief, said the two ships carrying the contingent of Naval Task Force (NTF) 82 safely arrived at the Sultan Qaboos Port in Muscat.

Mission head Marine Col. Noel Beleran, along with the commanding officers of the two PN ships, immediately made a courtesy call on Philippine Ambassador to Oman Narciso Castañeda.

Roxas said the two ships will serve as a sea-based platform for the government to process and facilitate the repatriation of displaced OFWs.

"Specifics and other details about the repatriation are expected to be finalized after the scheduled joint AFP-PNP command conference to be presided by the Commander-In-Chief, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in Malacañang on which NTF 82 will take part via video teleconferencing together with Ambassador Castañeda," she said.

Beleran said the PN contingent is "all safe and sound" upon arriving in Oman.

The contingent left Pier 13, Manila South Harbor last January 13 and made refueling and reprovisioning stop in Sri Lanka last week before heading for Oman.

"The troops are very happy and in high spirits, since this event serves as another milestone for our Navy that we can already transcend across the deep waters of the Indian Ocean or the Arabian Sea," he added.

Beleran said the sailors and marines "are ready to assist and support the government's effort in repatriating our unsung heroes, the OFWs in this Middle East conflict".

Roxas added that the safe arrival of the PN contingent in Oman signified the tangible means of the government's effort to ensure that OFWs will be safely repatriated to the Philippines, aside from showcasing the preparedness of Filipino navy ships in overseas deployment. (PNA)