By Francis Wakefield
Officers and crew of BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (FF15) attended a thanksgiving mass on board the ship after its arrival at SBMA, Olongapo City, over the weekend.
Cdr. Jonathan V. Zata, Navy spokesman and director of the Naval Public Affairs Office, said the officers and crew will then undergo a stress debriefing while concurrent efforts are underway in further inspecting the extent of repairs to be done on the ship.
Likewise, Cdr.Dominic B. Benauro assumed as the new skipper of Del Pilar. He is a member of PMA Class 2000 and has commanded a number of commissioned vessels of the navy.
The special investigating committee established by Navy Chief Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad, under Comdre. Toribio Adaci Jr., has began the formal inquiry surrounding the circumstances of Del Pilar’s grounding at Hasa Hasa Shoal, West Philippine Sea.
Zata said the result of the inquiry will then be submitted to Empedrad which is intended to determine the facts of the incident as well as actions that will ensure that similar circumstances will not recur in the future.
“The primordial concern of the navy is determine valuable lessons learned from the incident as well as the expeditious restoration to operational status of the navy’s flag ship,” Zata said.
Reports reaching the General Headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, earlier said BRP Gregorio del Pilar ran aground in the vicinity of Hasa-hasa Shoal, West Philippine Sea late in the evening of August 29, 2018.
The Gregorio del Pilar is a former US Coast Guard cutter that was donated to the Philippine Navy in 2001, along with BRP Ramon Alcaraz and BRP Andres Bonifacio.
It has since been transformed into a frigate powered by two diesel and two gas turbine engines.