(Photo courtesy of Wescom)

MANILA – The naval capability of the Puerto Princesa, Palawan Western Command (Wescom) got a boost with the arrival of landing dock BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602) on Sunday.

Wescom chief Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos welcomed the ship and its crew to its new area of operation.

"Her (BRP Davao Del Sur) first mission will be to transport Cuyonons to Cuyo Island to commemorate 400 years of Christianity in this part of the country," he added in a statement Sunday night.

While deployed at Wescom, BRP Davao Del Sur will undertake sealift as well as maritime and sovereignty patrols. BRP Davao Del Sur is the second ship of the Tarlac-class landing platform dock and the largest ship of the Philippine Navy (PN) to date.

The ship was launched on Sept. 29, 2016 and was commissioned into service on May 31, 2017. Carlos said the ship will significantly contribute to Wescom's capability to do its missions.

"I am profoundly grateful to the Flag-Officer-In-Command of the Philippine Navy (Vice Admiral Adeluis Bordado) for providing BRP Davao Del Sur to Wescom," Carlos added.

The ship has an overall length of 120 meters, breadth of 21 meters, a draft of five meters, and can carry a payload of 2,800 tons.

BRP Davao Del Sur has a cruising speed of 13 knots and a maximum speed of 16 knots and a minimum operating range of 7,500 nautical miles.

It can carry 500 troops, two rigid-hull inflatable boats, two landing craft units, and three helicopters. (PNA)