Two tugboats from a private company are expected to arrive on Monday to liberate the BRP Gregorio del Pilar from the navy, which crashed on Hasa-Hasa Shoal in the Philippine west coast.
Help from the local company
The marine officer of the navy, Vice-President Robert Empedrad, said that while the country had not refused the help of China, South Korea, the United States and our neighbors in Southeast Asia to retrieve the frigate, securing the help from a local company was "the fastest" way to save the ship and bring it back to the safe harbor.
The BRP Gregorio del Pilar is the leading vessel in its class and is one of the three former US Coast Guard Hamilton cutters acquired in 2011 under US Excess Defense articles and the Foreign Assistance Act.
BRP Gregorio del Pilar got stuck near Hasa-Hasa Shoal last Wednesday.
Attempts to pick up the fast frigate are under way while research is being done on their grounding.
Empedrad explained that it was necessary to use the services of a private company with an "experience to save ships that are particularly large ships", because neither the navy nor the coast guard had tugboats.
Many offers to help
He clarified that two coast guard vessels and two naval ships near Hasa-Hasa Shoal were deployed to provide safety and assistance to the crew of the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, none of whom were injured when the ship ran aground .
Empedrad assured: "The ship is intact, the crew is safe and we are on top."
He said there were many countries that had offered their help, but "we want us to free the ship … If we wait for help from other countries, it will take a long time."
"We have companies in the Philippines that have tugboats and are experts in salvaging ships that are stranded … It's the fastest [way] … [We can’t risk the vessel] get stuck in a tropical cyclone or in a low-pressure area, because that would make it very difficult for the ship, "the naval commander remarked.
He said that the liberating process could take a week or two because the safest way to remove the ship would be to carry it out.
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