Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Technical problems encountered during voyage to Russia: Navy chief

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 23): Technical problems encountered during voyage to Russia: Navy chief

The strategic sealift vessel, BRP Tarlac (LD-601), sustained a "technical problem" while en route to its first-ever port visit to Vladivostok, Russia.

This was confirmed by Philippine Navy (PN) flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad during the welcoming ceremonies for the ship and the 300-man contingent aboard her at Pier 13, Manila South Harbor on Monday afternoon.

"One of the engines bogged down, mahirap gawin yun (it is difficult to fix) if you don't have spares so using the logistics support agreement with other countries, with the help of the Republic of Korea, we were able to purchase spare parts needed by our ship and they sent it to Russia with the help of our friends (in) Russia, napabilis yung pagpasok sa barko (the entry to the ship was hastened), our crew were able to repair the derangement," Empedrad told reporters.

BRP Tarlac left Manila South Harbor last Sept. 21 and arrived at Vladisvostok for its scheduled Oct. 1 to 6 port call.

When asked for the specific technical problem suffered by the ship, Empedrad gave permission to Naval Task Force (NTF) 87 head Capt. Florante Gagua, who said the slight problem has something to do with an oil pump.

"It's just about the oil pump, actually we can run with (an) alternate pump but for safety, the Command advised me not to go with the alternate pump," the NTF 87 chief added.

This resulted in the ship leaving Vladivostok two days late from its scheduled departure on Oct. 6.

BRP Tarlac arrived at Jeju Island, South Korea on Oct. 12, a day late for the International Fleet Review (IFR), honoring the 70th founding anniversary of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Armed Forces, which was slated for Oct. 11 to 15.

Despite this, Empedrad said the PN contingent was able to attend all other activities in connection with the IFR. When asked on whether it is a good thing to send ships abroad to participate in international maritime events, the PN chief said constant deployment is needed to fully train the crews.

"I don't plan to have our ships merely docked at a pier. I would like our ships to be always moving at sea for the training of our personnel. A ship is designed to sail, not to be always docked, and our role is to protect a vast maritime nation, our vast maritime waters. So our ships need to be always on the go for training in order for our personnel to be expert in doing their job," he added.

When asked on whether this could cause degradation in the conditions of the ships, Empedrad said this will not be an issue as long as maintenance procedures are properly done.


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