Navy frigate pulled clear from Hasa-Hasa Shoal

MANILA — Philippine Navy (PN) flagship BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (FF-15) was successfully towed from Hasa-Hasa (international name Half-Moon) Shoal late Monday evening, an official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said.

“FF-15 (was) successfully retrieved at around 2354h (11:54 p.m.) 03 September. Undergoing final inspection before towing to Subic,” AFP Public Affairs Office Chief Col. Noel Detoyato told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

The frigate, which ran aground off Hasa-Hasa Shoal on August 29, will be dry docked for repairs in Subic.

AFP Spokesperson Col. Edgard Arevalo said the retrieval operations for the frigate started 2 p.m. Monday. He also called the retrieval operations a “success”.

“BRP Gregorio del Pilar (FF-15) that ran aground in the shoal was successfully pulled out shortly before midnight of the same day,” Arevalo said in a text message.

“Inspection was ongoing as of this time in preparation for the towing of the vessel to Subic,” he added.

Assessment by Coast Guard and Navy divers over the weekend indicated that there were no hull punctures. However, the starboard propeller was detached from the shaft due to the grounding.

This was later recovered and found to be repairable. Tugs M/T Vigilant and M/T Trabajador, both owned by the Malayan Towage and Salvage Corporation, went to the area, along with the Coast Guard’s BRP Sindangan and Navy’s BRP Nestor Reinoso (PG-380) and landing ship BRP Benguet (LT-507).

The BRP Gregorio Del Pilar is one of three Hamilton-class cutters acquired from the United States Coard Guard and converted into frigates.