SAN DIEGO, -- The USNS Melville (T-AGOR-14) oceanographic research ship has been commissioned into Philippine Navy service as the BRP Gregorio Velasquez (ARG-702). This was confirmed by Philippine Navy (PN) spokesperson Capt. Lued Lincuna in message to the PNA Tuesday.
The ship named after Professor Emeritus of botany in the University of the Philippines Gregorio Tiongson Velasquez.
Known as the Father of Philippine Phycology, Dr. Velasquez pioneered the intensive study and collection of the Philippine blue-green algal species. He studied and investigated algal specimens in Oriental Mindoro, Eastern Palawan, Sulu, Batangas and Bataan such as the Euglenophyceae, Chlorophyceae, and Myxophyceae.
The Philippines remains the largest recipient of maritime security assistance from the United States, and received a record $79 million in bilateral assistance of the FY 2015 funds allocated for developing Southeast Asian maritime capabilities.
This assistance is largely focused on building the training and logistical base for expanding the Philippine Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Forces’ ability to conduct operations within waters off the Philippines’ coasts.
The United Stated also are assisting with naval maintenance capacity building as well as providing interdiction vessels, naval fleet upgrades, communications equipment, and aircraft procurement.
Capt. Lued Lincuna said that thirty (30) Philippine Navy contingent, which will serve as the R/V Melville's sailing crew, has already arrived in San Diego, California last March 21.
"(The crew) are scheduled for familiarization and orientation on the operation and maintenance of various equipment aboard the vessel," Lincuna said.
The R/V Melville will be manned by the above-mentioned PN personnel and is expected to be in the Philippines by third week of June, he added.
The turnover ceremony of R/V Melville to the Philippine Navy at Naval Base in San Diego, CA, United States.·