PH Navy deploys 19-ship flotilla for ‘Odette’ relief ops

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MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN), through the Philippine Fleet, is now assembling a “19-ship humanitarian aid-focused flotilla” that will be deployed in areas severely devastated by Typhoon Odette.

“This relief flotilla consists of seven sealift vessels for the transport of relief goods and locally stranded individuals, two patrol ships for command and control, eight other watercraft as general support vessels. Meanwhile, the Presidential Yacht, BRP Ang Pangulo (AC-S25) has been repurposed as a hospital ship,” the Philippine Fleet said in a Facebook post Sunday night.

It added that BRP Tarlac (LD-601), BRP Bacolod City (LS-550), BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17), BRP Iwak (LC-289), BRP Agta (LC-290) and BRP Ivatan LC-298) are to be deployed to augment ongoing humanitarian assistance and disaster response efforts (HADR) in Cebu, Palawan, and Northern Mindanao specially Surigao, Dinagat and Siargao Islands.

“Already in Cebu are BRP Tausug (LC-295), BRP Enrique Jurado (PC-371), BRP Abraham Campo (PC-396), and ACS-700,” it said.

On the other hand, BRP Gregorio Velasquez (AGR-702), BRP Hilario Ruiz (PC-378) and BRP Rafael Pargas (PC-379) are already in Northern Mindanao and have completed several relief sorties already.

“ACS-25 will join these ships in the Siargao/Dinagat area. While prepositioned in Palawan already are BRP Mangyan (AC-71), BRP Jose Andrad (PC-370), BRP Carlos Albert (PC-375), and BRP DIoscoro Papa (PC-381),” the post read.

Aside from the ships, the PN also placed four naval aircraft on alert status to provide aerial survey, immediate rescue, and limited transport capabilities of the flotilla.

The naval air component consists of two BN Islander aircraft (NV-312 and NV-314), one Beechcraft King Air (C-90) aircraft (NV-394), and one ship-based AgustaWestland (AW-109) helicopter (NH-430).

These assets are provided by the Cavite City-based Philippine Fleet under the command of Rear Admiral Alberto B. Carlos.

“Aid and other carepacks are presently being loaded aboard AC-S25, LC-289, and LC-290. AC-S25 is scheduled to depart tonight, 19 December 2021, while LC-289 and LC-290 will depart tomorrow (Monday) morning,” it said.PN relief operations in Northern Mindanao, Cebu, and Palawan shall be directed by the current naval operating forces commanders in the area — Commodore Carlos Sabarre in Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao (Northern Mindanao), Captain Raul Regis PN in Naval Forces Central (Cebu), and Commodore Donn Miraflor in Naval Forces West (Palawan). (PNA)