Damaged Philippine Navy flagship to be out of service until end of 2019

Image: Armed Forces of the Philippines file photo
Image: Armed Forces of the Philippines file photo

The Philippine frigate BRP Gregorio Del Pilar is not expected to return to service anytime before the end of 2019, the navy’s most senior official has confirmed.

Philippine Navy flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad told the local press that the spare parts needed to repair the vessel are being sourced from the United States and will not become available until the end of this year.

Gregorio Del Pilar, which also serves as the Philippine Navy flagship, ran aground on a shoal near the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea on August 29, 2018.

The grounding severely damaged the frigate’s starboard propeller and rudder but otherwise did not result in injuries among its 117-strong crew.

Gregorio Del Pilar is the recommissioned ex-USCGC Hamilton, lead ship of the Hamilton-class high endurance cutters originally operated by the US Coast Guard. It was turned over to the Philippine Navy in 2011.

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