By Aaron Recuenco
After its engine room caught fire while on its way back to the Philippines, the Philippine Navy’s newly-repaired BRP Ramon Alcaraz will resume its voyage to the country from India.
Navy spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Maria Christina Roxas said BRP Ramon Alcaraz and its ship buddy BRP Davao del Sur will first make a stop at the Port of Colombo in Sri Lanka to pick up 12 Overseas Filipino Workers who were stranded due to the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19).
“They will join the 19 repatriates from India in separate rooms inside LD602 (BRP Davao del Sur) with 24-hour monitoring by an onboard medical team,” said Roxas.
The two ships earlier sailed to India to pick up stranded Filipinos. But on their way back, the engine room of the BRP Ramon Alcaraz caught fire at the Indian Ocean which forced them to return to Cochin, India for the repair.
“The Philippines’ existing defense cooperation with India paved the way for the latter’s navy to provide expertise and assistance to our personnel, leading up to the restoration of the ship’s main propulsion, generators, auxiliary systems and other essential equipment,” said Roxas.
BRP Davao del Sur, on the other hand, originally left for Manila by itself on May 9 and already reached Sri Lanka when it was compelled to return to India to take shelter from the brewing storm in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea.
“PS16 (BRP Ramon Alcaraz) has been restored to being seaworthy and is now sailing in convoy with LD602 (BRP Davao del Sur),” said Roxas.
The Philippine government sent two of its warships in India to pick up stranded OFWs due to the unavailability of flights as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.