Decommissioned ships to boost Philippines Navy modernisation
TWO decommissioned Australian Balikpapan class landing craft have been gifted to the Philippines.
Typhoon Haiyan caused significant devastation to the Philippines in November 2013 and about 500 Australian Defence Force personnel, including the crew of HMAS Tobruk and a deployment of army engineers from Townsville, provided incountry support to the relief effort – at the request of the Philippines Government.
“The relief effort highlighted the importance of regional sea lift options due to numerous airfields being inaccessible and land infrastructure impassable,” Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett, said.
“These craft will assist the Philippines defence modernisation program and improve the Philippine Navy’s ability to respond to future natural disasters.”
The decommissioned vessels, ex- HMAS ships Tarakan and Brunei, were recommissioned at the ceremony into the Republic of Philippines Navy as BRP Ivatan ( AT298) and BRP Batak ( AT299).
With more than 40 years’ ser- vice, the versatility of the Balik papan class resulted in superb logistics support to Australian Defence Force operations in Bougainville, East Timor and the Solomon Islands, and numerous humanitarian aid missions both domestically and throughout the region.
BOAT BOUNTY: Philippine Navy’s Vice Admiral Jesus Millan at the handover ceremony.
Vice Admiral Jesus Millan shakes hands with the Australian N Admiral Tim Barrett after signing the official documentation.