Australia has gifted two recently decommissioned Landing Craft Heavy (LCH) or supply ships to the Philippine Navy, Australian Defense Minister Kevin Andrews announced on Thursday, January 29.
HMAS Tarakan and Brunei are the two ships that are refurbished and equipped with new safety and navigation equipment and will be provided to Philippine Navy.
The ships have been decommissioned in November last year. The supply ships are capable of carrying up to 180 tons of cargo and are 44.5 meters long and can move with a speed of 10-13 Knots per hour.
“I expect the vessels will be refitted and ready for hand over in May 2015,” Andrews was quoted as saying in a statement by Rappler.
The Australian embassy described the LCH as "an extremely versatile vessel, capable of moving large amounts of cargo, personnel and equipment from larger ships to shore."
"A very shallow draft (two meters) allows these ships to deliver personnel and equipment to areas otherwise unreachable especially during Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations," the embassy was quoted as saying by Rappler.
The ships will be used for Philippines for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) operations to affected areas, Andrews added.
Philippines also plans to purchase 3 more LCH decommissioned in 2012 namely HMAS Wewak, Betano and Balikpapan.