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SOURCE: Philippine News Agency

The Philippine Navy (PN) expressed hope for stronger ties with the Indian Navy following its assistance to the repair of the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, whose engine room caught fire off Cochin, India on May 7.

“Your support in this unfortunate incident is way beyond our expectations and is a testament of your sincerity in deepening our Navy-to-Navy partnership. Rest assured that the Philippine Navy remains committed to this partnership and we hope to expand this relationship as we seek better ways to make our seas safer and more secure for everyone,” PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said in his letter to Indian Navy chief-of-naval staff, Admiral Karambir Singh last week and a copy of which was acquired by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) Sunday night.

BRP Ramon Alcaraz, one of the two ship components of Naval Task Force 82 deployed to the Middle East in January for possible repatriation missions of overseas Filipino workers following tensions between Iran and the United States, was starting its voyage home when a fire broke out in its engine room last May 7.

The ship immediately returned to Cochin, India for repairs with BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602) initially deciding to go home alone.

However, Cyclone Amphan which battered eastern India and Bangladesh forced BRP Davao del Sur to return to the Indian port to seek shelter.

Repairs to the BRP Ramon Alcaraz’s engine room were completed on May 27 and both ships resumed their voyage home on May 31 and arrived home in Manila on June 12.

“We are likewise thankful for the airlift and one of our sailors to INHS Sanjivani Naval Hospital under the leadership of Surgeon Commodore MS Honwad for the treatment of his second-degree burns,” Bacordo said.

He also expressed his thanks and appreciation to the Indian Navy’s Southern Naval Command, which is under Vice Admiral AK Chawla, for being receptive to the entire PN contingent.

“Again, accept my sincerest thanks for the Indian Navy’s invaluable assistance and allow me to convey my fervent wishes for your continuing success in leading the Indian Navy’s sustained resolve to be a global maritime force,” Bacordo said.