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Navy's strategic sealift vessel to be launched in Indonesia

A sketch of a strategic sealift vessel for the Philippine Navy. Philstar.com/File photo

MANILA, Philippines - One of the two strategic sealift vessels acquired by the Philippines to boost the Navy’s capabilities will be launched on Sunday in Indonesia.

Launching is a Navy term that refers to the removal of a ship from dry dock to allow it to float at sea for the next stage of tests. A ship is launched to ensure that it is working properly before it is delivered to its buyer.

“We got a word from the Navy that one of the two strategic sealift vessels we ordered from Indonesia, from the PT PAL shipyard, will be launched this January 17. Our key officials will be in attendance to see the launching of that ship,” Armed Forces spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla said in a press briefing yesterday.

“The acquisition of the strategic sealift vessels is a very important milestone for our Navy. It will increase our capacity for humanitarian assistance and disaster response during critical moments when we our hit by storms,” he added.

In 2014, The STAR reported that shipbuilder PT PAL Indonesia (Persero) won the bidding for the purchase of two brand new strategic sealift vessels for the Philippine Navy. The notice of award for the P4-billion project was issued to the company in December 2014.

PT PAL offered to build the vessels for $86,980,000 or about P3.864 billion, well within the budget ceiling of P4 billion.

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The first strategic sealift vessel will be delivered in May while the second ship is scheduled to arrive next year.

The strategic sealift vessels can be used to perform civil-military operations and can transport a large number of soldiers, logistics equipment and supplies. They can also accommodate three helicopters and can support disaster relief operations.

Padilla said the ship can also be deployed as a command and control center that can coordinate rescue, recovery and retrieval efforts.

“This ship can also be used as floating hospital in case our health center and hospitals in provinces that were affected by disasters become unavailable,” he said.  

Padilla said the vessel can also be used as a supply ship in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and other Philippine territories. 

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