MANILA — The country’s first-ever strategic sealift vessel (SSV), the BRP Tarlac (LD-601), is expected to drop anchor off Manila Bay where she and her crew will undergo Customs and Immigration Quarantine (CIQ) Saturday.
This was disclosed by Philippine Navy (PN) spokesperson Capt. Lued Lincuna in a message to the PNA Friday.
“(By Saturday morning), BRP Tarlac will arrive at anchorage area off Manila for CIQ,” he said.
Lincuna said BRP Tarlac entered Philippine territory upon sailing Sibutu passage, Tawi-Tawi Thursday.
He added that the SSV is now sailing towards her Manila destination.
BRP Tarlac left the Surabaya shipyard of Indonesian contract PT PAL (Persero) last May 9.
Prior to its departure, BRP Tarlac has successfully concluded her sea trials, he added.
Sea trials refer to the testing phases which aims 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,” he added.
The Philippines has two SSV orders with PT PAL (Persero) for Php3,870,000,000 which was 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 Oct. 30, 2013.
The Department of National Defense (DND) declared Persero as the Single Calculated Responsive Bidder with a bidding price of Php3,870,000,000 on Nov. 18, 2014.
The SSVs are programmed 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.
Further, these vessels are critical assets for civil-military operations due to 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 programmed to be on-board components of these vessels.
These forthcoming landing platform dock strategic sealift vessels will improve the transport capability of the PN and boost the defense capabilities of the country. Priam Nepomuceno/PNA/northboundasia.com