The Philippine Navy commissioned a research vessel donated by the American government in line with the promise of U.S. President Barack Obama last November that he will remain committed to strengthening the defense capability of the United States’ long-time ally in Asia.
During a simple rite held in San Diego, California, officials from the Armed Forces of the Philippines officially welcomed the BRP Gregorio Velasquez, which previously belonged to the Robert D. Conrad-class of U.S. Navy assets.
The 48-year-old ship sports a laboratory space of 245 square meters, a main deck working area of 376 square meters, a freeboard of 3.7 meters, and a sewerage system that stores up to 30,000 liters.
It operates on two 1,385 horsepower GE propulsion motors, a 900 horsepower retractable Azimuth-compensating bow thruster, and two 1,385 horsepower Z-Drive Lips propellers.
Prior to the transfer, the ship’s operation was entrusted to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the oldest existing center for ocean and earth research in the USA.
Aside from the BRP Gregorio Velasquez, the U.S. government also promised that the 49-year-old U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Boutwell will also be donated to the Philippines.