HMAS Cairns hosted a unique ceremony on 23 July during which two ships were commissioned into the Philippines Navy before they departed Australia for their new home.
The Australian Government gifted two decommissioned Landing Craft Heavy to the Philippines Government, including a package of spare parts, following a refurbishment of new safety and navigation equipment.
Ex-HMA Ships Tarakan and Brunei were retired from Australian naval service in November 2014 and re-commissioned into the Philippines Navy as BRP Ivatan (AT298) and BRP Batak (AT299).
The Balikpapan class Landing Craft Heavy served for over 39 years in the Australian Defence Force on operations and exercises throughout the region.
Following their commissioning, the ships sailed to their new home in the Philippines.
The ships were gifted to the Philippines to support its defence modernisation program as well as to increase the nation’s sea lift capacity.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Tim Barrett said the gifting was a fitting continuation for the maritime workhorses.
“I am particularly pleased that former Australian vessels that have spent so much time in supporting not only Australia but our regional partners can continue their service with a close regional partner,” he said.
The honour of being the first Commanding Officers of Ivatan and Batak will be Commander Joselito De Guzman and Lieutenant Ariel Costantino of the Philippines Navy.
The ships are named after Filipino indigenous communities with the Ivatans being an ethnolinguistic group predominant in the Batanes Islands and the Batak being one of about 70 indigenous peoples of the Philippines.