The two transport ships to be donated by Australia to the Philippines will be commissioned into service on July 23.
Navy chief Vice Adm. Jesus Millan said the two landing craft heavy (LCH) would be commissioned in Australia while the vessels’ christening would be held in the Philippines.
“I will travel to Australia on July 20. The schedule of the turnover is on July 23,” Millan told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo on Friday.
“Hopefully, the ships will arrive in the first week of August,” he added.
Millan said the two vessels would be named after indigenous tribes of the Philippines. It has been the tradition of Navy to name landing craft ships after tribes.
One of the ships will be named BRP Ivatan after an indigenous group in Batanes while the other will be called BRP Batak after a tribe in Palawan. The two former vessels of the Royal Australian Navy used to be known as HMAS Tarakan and Brunei.
“It will boost our capability because of the increase in number of LCH,” he added.
Millan said the Navy has five LCH in its inventory but only three of them are operational.
The Australian government announced its plan to donate two ships to the Philippines in January.
The donation will include a package of spare parts, according to the Australian defense ministry.
Australian officials previously said two ships would be turned over to the Philippine Navy after being refurbished with new safety and navigation equipment.
A statement released by the Australian Embassy in January noted that the lack of sealift capability hampered efforts to assist Philippine coastal areas hit by typhoon Haiyan (locally known as ‘Yolanda’) in 2013.
The ships are expected to boost the Philippines’s ability to respond to disasters as they would enable the movement of heavy equipment and large amounts of aid to devastated areas.
The two transport vessels were decommissioned from Australian service at a ceremony in Cairns on Nov. 19, 2014.
Source: Philippine Star