The Philippine Navy will be better prepared for natural disasters when they receive two decommissioned landing craft from Australia in May.
A lack of sealift ability hampered the Philippine Navy’s relief efforts to assist coastal areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013.
The former HMA Ships Brunei and Tarakan will be commissioned into the Philippine Navy to provide additional intra-theatre sealift capability.
Brunei’s last Executive Officer, Lieutenant Brenton-James Glover, said he was excited about the ships being given another opportunity to provide a much-needed service.
“They were certainly the work horses of the Royal Australian Navy and I am sure they will provide just as much service to the Philippine Navy,” he said.
“They were not the best looking or most comfortable ships, however, they could always be called upon when needed.
“The Balikpapan class is an excellent capability for amphibious operations as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
“For the Philippine Navy to have this capability in their fleet to assist with disaster relief will prove vital in this unpredictable climate.”
Brunei and Tarakan will be handed over in May after being refurbished with new safety and navigation equipment.
The Philippine government is also considering whether to purchase the remaining three Australian landing craft, former Wewak, Betano and Balikpapan, which were decommissioned in 2012.
The craft are not the first Navy ships gifted to the Philippine Navy.
Australia gifted four Second World War-era motor launches, ML1323, ML1326, ML1328 and ML1329, to the Philippine Navy in August 1958.
At the Philippine Navy’s request, the four launches were given the Aboriginal names Yindi (sun), Yarraman (horse), Yacki (celebration) and Yanga (fish).