MANILA, Philippines – Australia on Thursday, July 23, formally handed over two Landing Craft Heavy (LCH) ships to the Philippine Navy.
Philippine Navy chief Vice Admiral Jesus Millan and Royal Australian Navy chief Vice Admiral Tim Barret signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the turnover of the vessels.
The ceremony held in Australia was immediately followed by a commissioning ceremony. The two supply ships and its crew have started their voyage to the Philippines.
“Vice Admiral Millan conveyed his gratitude to the Australian government and to the RAN for the generous donation saying that the two LCHs will certainly boost the capability of the PN to transport personnel, equipment and aid during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations,” said Commander Lued Lincuna, director of the Naval Public Affairs Office.
The supply ships are 44.5 meters long and have a speed of 10 to 13 Knots. They are capable of carrying up to 180 tons of cargo.
“A very shallow draft (two meters) allows these ships to deliver personnel and equipment to areas otherwise unreachable especially during Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations,” the embassy noted in a statement.The Australian embassy described the LCH as “an extremely versatile vessel, capable of moving large amounts of cargo, personnel and equipment from larger ships to shore.”
Australia decommissioned the ships last year. They will arrive in the Philippines next week. – Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler.com