PH Navy task group concludes 'equator crossing' rites

By Priam Nepomuceno

June 5, 2023, 10:55 am

<p><em>(Photo courtesy of Philippine Navy)</em></p>

(Photo courtesy of Philippine Navy)

MANILA – Some 23 officers and 103 enlisted personnel of the Naval Task Group (NTG) 80.5, aboard the offshore patrol vessel BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17), successfully underwent seamen's traditional rites of "Crossing the Equator” last June 2 while enroute to Indonesia to participate in this year's "Komodo" naval exercises.

Lt. Jonathan Carretas, NTG 80.5 public affairs office chief, said the ceremony took place when the contingent passed by the equator at "LAT 00 DEGS 00.000 MINS LONG 118 DEGS 46.603 MINS E".

"(The ship was) enroute to Makassar, Indonesia to participate (in) the 4th Multilateral Naval Exercise 'Komodo' (MNEK). This treasured naval tradition features King Neptune with the members of his Royal Family putting into test all the pollywogs, who wish to pass the equator for the first time, into his court," he said in a statement Sunday.

"Komodo" is a military exercise by the Indonesian Navy and annually held between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

The first iteration of the naval exercise took place in 2014 in Indonesia's Batam City.

The BRP Andres Bonifacio left Naval Operating Base Subic last May 29 to participate in "Komodo" which will run from June 4 to 8.

Carretas said numerous fun-filled activities awaited these newcomers that eventually made them earn the right to be called “shellbacks” and be recognized as the sons and daughters of the sea.

"In this crossing the equator rite, the pollywogs faced several challenging tasks that tested their resourcefulness, determination, team work, and innovativeness in order to entertain the master shellbacks onboard for them to earn their place to King Neptune’s court," he added.

Carretas said the whole activity was conducted under the supervision of Fleet Marine Ready Force chief of staff Captain Arnold C. Barcelon and BRP Andres Bonifacio commanding officer Commander Paul Michael P. Hechanova.

"The ceremony concluded with the awarding of shellback certificate and a simple boodle fight to celebrate the culmination of the bonding activity that serves as another milestone to each member of the NTG 80.5 contingent’s life at sea," he added. (PNA)