The BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16) on Monday has just left a port in South Carolina where it had been undergoing refurbishment, a statement from the embassy noted.

the Philippines acquired the Alcaraz, a Hamilton-class cutter, from the U.S. in May 2012. It is set to arrive in the Philippines in July.

The Alcaraz is the second frigate the government acquired under the U.S. Excess Defense Article and Military Assistance Program.

The first, the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF15), was turned over to the Philippine Navy in May 2011.

Both ships can conduct patrols over long periods and withstand heavy weather and sough seas conditions, said Navy Capt. Elson Aguilar, Defense and Naval Attaché of the Embassy.

The Alcaraz will stay out at sea for three days to test its systems before returning to port on Thursday.

"We want to make sure everything is in place before the Alcaraz finally sets sail for the Philippines before the middle of next month," Captain Aguilar said.

The vessel's 14 officers and 74 crew members, led by Capt. Ernesto Baldovino, have also been undergoing training since the Alcaraz had been turned over.

The 378-foot-long Alcaraz was commissioned in 1968 and served with the U.S. Coast Guard until it was decommissioned and turned over to the Philippines.

Refurbishing and refitting of the Alcaraz cost $15.15 million, the embassy said.

The ship was named after Commodore Ramon Alcaraz, a Navy officer who commanded a patrol boat that shot down three Japanese aircraft during World War II.


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