Aug 022013

The BRP Ramon Alcaraz is the second Hamilton-class cutter that was acquired by the Philippine Navy under the Foreign Military Sales Program of the United States. The ship was named after Philippine Navy Commodore Ramon Alcaraz, a World War II hero who commanded the Philippine Offshore Patrol’s Q-Boat Q-112 Abra which shot down three Japanese aircraft. US EMBASSY PHOTO RELEASE

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines’ second warship acquired from the US, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz, was welcomed by local fishing vessels off Aurora as it entered the Philippine waters early Friday.

“After almost two months of long journey from South Carolina, we can now confidently say that she BRP Alcaraz is finally home,” the Philippine Navy in its official blog announced.

The arrival of the second Hamilton-class came amid a tense territorial dispute between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

The warship, which sailed in the Pacific Ocean from South Carolina for almost two months, was welcomed through a “sail past.” It was carrying 88 officers and crew.

The BRP Ramon Alcaraz left the US last June 10.

The Philippines acquired from the US Coast Guard its first Hamilton cutter in  May 2011 and named it BRP Gregorio del Pilar.

The BRP Alcaraz is expected to anchor in Subic Bay on Sunday. A formal welcome ceremony  will be held at Alava Wharf at Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Zambales on Tuesday.

“Tomorrow is a special day for them. They will meet again at sea but no longer in service to Uncle Sam,” the Navy blog read, referring to BRP Gregorio del Pilar and BRP Alcaraz.

“They will once again sail together but for the first time without the “stars spangled banner” flying on their respective masts. Tomorrow, they will be sailing together under the Philippine Flag,” it added.

Both warships were decommissioned US Coast Guard vessels.

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Tags: BRP Ramon Alcaraz , China , Philippine Navy , Philippines , South China Sea , Warship , West Philippine Sea

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