New multi-role ship to patrol West Philippine Sea

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - One of 10 multi-role response vessels (MRRV) acquired from Japan is expected to arrive on Aug. 18 and undertake its first patrol mission in the West Philippine Sea for the coast guard.

The vessel, to be named BRP Tubbataha, may be deployed beyond the 12-nautical mile territorial water limit in the western seaboard if necessary, Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Commander Armand Balilo said yesterday.

The PCG is beefing up its patrol capability in the West Philippine Sea in the face of Chinese encroachment on areas within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

“It is a Coast Guard vessel. It is a multi-role vessel and it would perform Coast Guard functions. Considering that the Philippine Coast Guard is being asked to (help) in the West Philippine Sea, if the Department of Transportation (DOTr) would instruct us to patrol beyond the 12 nautical miles, then we would deploy a ship and it is possible that we would use the BRP Tubbataha,” said Balilo.

The Tubbataha and the nine other MRRVs would be classified as “parola (lighthouse)” class vessels, and named after lighthouses. The Tubbataha Reef, a marine reservation area in Palawan, has a lighthouse similarly named.

The new vessel is 44 meters long and has a depth of four meters. Its maximum approximate speed is 25 knots. Twenty-five PCG personnel will man the ship.

The MRRV is equipped with special features for search and rescue and law enforcement operations such as fire monitors, night vision camera, radio direction finder and a workboat. It also has a bullet-proof navigational bridge.

The remaining MRRVs will arrive one after another every quarter or until 2018.

It was earlier reported that each MRRV cost 11.7 billion yen.

The vessels, built by Japan Marine United Corp. (JMUC) Yokohama Shipyard, would still undergo inspection by the Bureau of Customs (BOC), Bureau of Immigration (BOI) and Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ).

The formal handover from the Japanese government, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency will be on Sept. 1.  


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