MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) on Thursday said it plans to acquire 100 hectares of cash-strapped shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction (HHIC-Phil)’s facility in Subic Bay, Zambales to build a base for some of its major units.
“About 100 hectares in the North Yard. We will be housing the Philippine Fleet, Naval Sea Systems Command, Naval Installation Command and Amphibious Assault Battalion,” Navy chief, Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said in a message to the Philippine News Agency, when asked how large a portion of HHIC-Phil the Navy is eyeing for its proposed base in the area.
North Yard, Bacordo said, is located near HHIC-Phil’s Graving Dock No. 5 (also known as dry dock) and is used to construct, repair, and maintain ships.
Bacordo said the PN is always interested to occupy part of the HHIC-Phil in Subic Bay due to the presence of a deep-sea harbor which can be used to accommodate its strategic sealift vessels and larger patrol ships.
HHIC-Phil’s harbor has a minimum depth of about 10 meters which can accommodate the draft of the Tarlac-class landing docks and Del Pilar-class offshore patrol vessels and incoming frigates.
Draft refers to the vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull or keel.
Aside from having a deep-sea harbor, the facility is also protected by mountains and the nearby Grande Island.
HHIC-Phil has a total of USD1.3 billion outstanding loans — USD400 million from Philippine banks and USD900 million from South Korean lenders.
In January last year, the shipbuilder filed a petition before the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court “to initiate voluntary rehabilitation under Republic Act 10142, otherwise known as An Act Providing for the Rehabilitation or Liquidation of Financially Distressed Enterprises and Individuals”. (PNA)