Navy ship on way back from drills in Hawaii

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    THE Philippine Navy’s newest frigate, BRP Jose Rizal, is on the way back to country after participating in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, a US-hosted multilateral exercise in Hawaii.

    The warship, expected to arrive on September 21 in Zambales, left the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii on Saturday, initially for Guam where it will have a reprovisioning, said Lt. Cmdr. Maria Christina Roxas, Navy public affairs officer.

    Roxas said BRP Jose Rizal is set to meet with the US Navy’s USS Chung-Hoon and KDB Darulehsan of the Royal Brunei Navy at Oahu Island, also in Hawaii for the conduct of a group sail.

    “While sailing to the vast Pacific Ocean on their way to refuel and re-provision in Guam, PN NTG (Philippine Navy Naval Task Group) 80.5 contingent (aboard BRP Jose Rizal) will be executing minimal series of exercises with the said ships from Brunei and US navies,” said Roxas.

    She said the three ships will be engaged in MSCEX 7 or Miscellaneous Exercise 7, and photo, flashing, publication, flag hoisting, gunnery, and final exercises.

    BRP Jose Rizal left Zambales on July 19 for the exercise held from August 17 to August 31. On August 31, it took part in a war at sea exercise during the Philippine Navy’s last serial for RIMPAC 2020.

    Navy chief Vice Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said BRP Jose Rizal’s completion of “all given serials of the exercise demonstrates her capability to handle various operational requirements.”

    RIMPAC is the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise. Navies from the US, Australia, Brunei, Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of the Philippines, Republic of Korea, and Singapore took part in this year’s exercise.

    BRP Jose Rizal, constructed by Hyundai Heavy Industries, arrived in the country on May 23 from Hyundai’s shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea.

    BRP Jose Rizal is one of the two frigates awarded to be built by Hyundai for P18 billion in 2016 under the AFP modernization program.

    The construction of the BRP Jose Rizal began in 2017, followed by the second ship a few months later. The second ship, which will be named BRP Antonio Luna, is due for delivery later this year.