Philippine Navy missile-frigate crew member tests positive for COVID-19

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 16 2020 11:47 PM

Courtesy of Philippine Navy's Facebook page

MANILA - The Philippine Navy on Monday welcomed the country's first missile-capable warship at the Alava Wharf in Subic Bay, Zambales.

The commissioning of BRP Jose Rizal, however, was reset after one of its crew members tested positive for COVID-19, Navy chief Vice Adm. Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said.

The frigate was supposed to be commissioned on June 19 to coincide with the 159th birthday of national hero Jose Rizal.

"We recommended it to be postponed to another date," Bacordo said, but couldn't immediately say when the ceremony will take place. President Rodrigo Duterte was set to attend the commissioning.

The ship left the shipyard of Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, South Korea on May 18. Hyundai signed a contract with the defense department to build 2 frigates for P18 billion in 2016 under the Armed Forces of the Philippines' modernization program.

The construction of the BRP Jose Rizal began in 2017, followed by the second ship a few months later. The second ship, which will be named BRP Antonio Luna, is due for delivery later this year.

After a 5-day voyage from Korea, BRP Jose Rizal arrived at the Subic anchorage area on May 23 where it initially stayed for the mandatory quarantine and swab testing of crew members.

The ship's 65 crew members were tested on June 4 in which one of them tested positive for COVID-19, Bacordo said.

The crew member yielded negative results during a confirmatory swabbing at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center, he added.

"Though he was tested negative, the whole ship will have to undergo 14 days of quarantine based on the time that he was tested positive," Bacordo said.