An official of the Philippine Navy has confirmed that the service expects repairs to be completed within this month on one of its ships that suffered significant damage after it ran aground on a reef in the Spratly Islands three years prior.
Navy spokesperson Commander Benjo Negranza told local media earlier this week that the patrol ship BRP Gregorio Del Pilar is still in drydock but will be refloated in the coming weeks following the installation of critical machinery.
Other repairs on the ship will be carried out after it is once again afloat, added Negranza.
Senior navy officials had originally expected the repairs to be completed in late 2020. However, the Covid-19 pandemic and difficulties in procuring replacement parts have caused the completion to be moved to the second half of 2021.
Gregorio Del Pilar, the former US Coast Guard high-endurance cutter Hamilton, suffered damage to its starboard propeller and rudder after it struck a shallow portion of Half Moon Shoal in the Eastern Spratlys on August 29, 2018.
The ship was removed from the shoal after five days and then towed to Subic Bay for drydocking.
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