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Storm forces homeward bound PH Navy ship to return to India

/ 05:07 PM May 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines—Philippine Navy ship BRP Davao del Sur (LD-602), which was on its way back to the Philippines, has returned to Cochin, India to take shelter from Cyclone Amphan.

Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo told reporters the Davao del Sur had already reached Colombo, Sri Lanka but the storm in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea forced it to return to Cochin.

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“At the moment, she’s there in Cochin, at anchor, in the vicinity of Cochin port,” he said.

Amphan, which slammed into India’s coast and neighboring Bangladesh, was said to be the strongest tropical cyclone to develop in the Bay of Bengal since 1999’s Odisha cyclone.

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BRP Davao del Sur and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16) were supposed to return home to the Philippines on May 7, after making a brief stop in India to pick up stranded tourists and donations of personal protective equipment.

BRP Ramon Alcaraz, however, caught fire five hours after leaving the port and was forced to stay in Cochin for repairs. BRP Davao del Sur left Cochin by herself to sail back to the Philippines on May 9.

But because of the brewing storm after reaching the port of Colombo on May 11, BRP Davao del Sur remained at anchor then later returned to Cochin.

Both ships are now expected to return home together on May 27 after repairs on BRP Ramon Alcaraz were expected to be finished, Bacordo said.

“We’re expecting her to be ready by 27th this month. She’ll be ready to set sail back to Manila by the 27th,” he said.

The two ships will stop by Colombo again to pick up 15 stranded Filipinos.

The Philippine government deployed the two ships to Oman last January to help repatriate overseas Filipino workers, who would want to return home following the assassination by the United States of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, which drove tensions close to a full-blown war in the Middle East.

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Tensions have eased in recent months and OFWS have opted not to return to the Philippines. The ships, however, were ordered by higher Philippine authorities to stay put. It stayed in Oman for almost three months and finally left on April 21.

Edited by TSB

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TAGS: Amphan, BRP Davao del Sur, BRP Ramon Alcaraz, India, navy, Philippine Navy, port, repairs, shelter, ship, Sri Lanka, storm, weather
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