Long-Idled Philippine Navy Frigate Returns to Service

- By Rife Consultancy

A Philippine Navy (PN) frigate that grounded four years ago on a disputed shoal in the South China Sea is back in service after extensive repair works.

The PN announced that its offshore patrol vessel BRP Gregorio Del Pilar has been restored to operation after undergoing an extensive overhaul.

The frigate went aground on a disputed shoal in the South China Sea on August 29, 2018 and has been out of service ever since.

An initial dive inspection found no hull damage, but the starboard propeller was no longer attached to its driveshaft.

The reef, known as Half Moon Shoal or Hasa Hasa, is on the edge of the Spratly Islands. China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan and others have overlapping claims in the region. China operates seven man-made, militarized island bases in the Spratly chain.

Completion of the frigate’s repair was delayed by two years due to difficulties in procuring parts, including the propeller hub and parts for the repairs of controllable pitch propellers.

Early this year, the country also inked a $330 million deal with India’s BrahMos Aerospace for the delivery of three shore-based supersonic ramjet missile batteries.

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