Philippine Navy’s offshore patrol vessel BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS-16) caught fire in the Indian Ocean on 7 May.
The incident occurred a few hours after the ship departed Port of Cochin, India, for Manila convoy with landing platform dock BRP Davao Del Sur (LD602). The two ships made a stop in India to pick up donated face masks and Filipinos stranded there due to the coronavirus restrictions.
Luckily, the crew acted swiftly and managed to put out the fire in ten minutes, according to PN.
Two sailors sustained injuries and are reported to be in stable condition.
Initial investigation revealed that the fire broke in the main engine room, resulting in minor equipment damages.
“BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PS16) was able to return to the Port of Cochin, India unassisted and is currently moored there. It undergoes damage assessment and systems evaluation in connection with the fire that broke out in the main engine room of the vessel with lube oil leakage as the apparent cause,” the navy said in an update.
“Based on initial assessment, one of its main engines must undergo necessary repair to ensure the seaworthiness of the ship and safety of its crew prior to its return voyage to the country.”
As explained, the ship’s extended stay at port for the repair also provides ample time for the recovery of injured sailors and the completion of the hauling of the remaining 800 thousand donated facemasks.
Meanwhile, BRP Davao del Sur continued its voyage back to the Philippines on 9 May with Filipino repatriates and 200,000 pieces of donated face masks. LD602 is expected to arrive at Manila South Harbor on 23 May.
BRP Ramon Alcaraz was formerly known as USCGC Dallas. Prior to its decommissioning in 2012, it served the United States Coast Guard (USCG) as a high endurance cutter.
As the OPV is still under the technical support program with the US, the US Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) would assist in repairing BRP Ramon Alcaraz, the Philippine Navy informed.