Sun, 03 Jul 2022

MANILA - Officers and enlisted personnel of missile-frigate BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) held the ancient naval tradition of line-crossing ceremony upon passing through the International Date Line (IDL) on Wednesday.

"Prior to crossing the IDL - also known as the Domain of the Golden Dragon - these personnel were still called 'pollywogs' under the rule of King Neptune, the ruler of the sea. They had to pass various challenges and upon completion, the pollywogs have now evolved into the Golden Dragons of the IDL," said Philippine Navy (PN) spokesperson, Commander Benjo Negranza, in a statement Thursday.

According to timeanddate.com, the IDL is the boundary where each calendar day starts and is also known as the "Line of Demarcation" because it separates two calendar dates.

The BRP Antonio Luna and the Naval Task Group 80.5 is the country's contingent to this year's Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise which is scheduled from June 29 to August 4.

"After the ceremony, Naval Task Group (NTG) 80.5 led by Captain Charles Merric Villanueva have their boodle fight in celebration of the International Date Line crossing and the awarding of certificate to the most senior personnel who crossed the IDL for the first time," Negranza said.

This tradition serves as an initiation rite and marks a milestone in every sailor's life. The same ceremony is observed when crossing the equator.

BRP Antonio Luna and NTG 80.5 left Naval Operating Base Subic last June 8 and arrived in Guam last June 12. The ship left the island on June 16 for Hawaii.

RIMPAC, considered the world's largest maritime exercise, is held biennially to promote regional stability in the Pacific Region.

Around 25,000 personnel from 26 participating nations are set to join the 28th iteration of RIMPAC which was first conducted in 1971.

Negranza earlier said NTG 80.5 will help develop, maintain, and enhance the Navy's pursuit of maritime collaboration with its counterparts through the exercise.

The PN's participation in RIMPAC 2022, themed "Capable, Adaptive, Partners," will be the third after its maiden participation in 2018 and its sophomore run in 2020.

In the 2018 RIMPAC, the Navy deployed the offshore patrol vessel, BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17), and the landing dock BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602).

In the 2020 iteration of the maritime exercise, the PN sent the country's first missile frigate, the BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150).

Both the BRP Jose Rizal and BRP Antonio Luna are capable of anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and electronic warfare operations.

The contract for the two ships was PHP16 billion and an additional PHP2 billion was spent on weapon systems and munitions. (PNA)

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