The Philippine Embassy in Washington tweeted that the BRP Ramon Alcaraz began its journey to the Philippines at 10 p.m. Monday.
“BRP Ramon Alcaraz gets ready for voyage to the Philippines. Fair winds, blue skies and following seas!” the embassy said.
Before their departure, the warship’s Filipino crew got what the embassy called “emotional farewells” from members of the Filipino community in Charleston.
“Filipinos in Charleston served as foster families of officers and crew of Alcaraz during (their) 13-month stay in South Carolina,” the embassy explained.
The BRP Ramon Alcaraz started sea trials last May as part of preparations for its service in the Philippine Navy.
Since it was acquired by the Philippines in May 2012, the ship had been refurbished and refitted at a cost of $15.15 million.
The BRP Ramon Alcaraz is the second Hamilton-class cutter acquired by the Philippines from the US under the Excess Defense Article and Military Assistance Program.
The first ship, the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF15), was turned over to the Philippine Navy in May 2011.
The 378-foot-long BRP Ramon Alcaraz was originally commissioned in 1968 and served in the U.S. Coast Guard as the USCGC Dallas.
The ship was named after a Philippine Navy officer who commanded a patrol boat that shot down three Japanese aircraft during World War 2. — DVM, GMA News