Vessel from Japan to be used vs piracy
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - May 20, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Coast Guard’s fourth brand new multi-role response vessel (MRRV) from Japan has arrived and would soon be deployed to conduct anti-piracy patrols at the newly opened sea route between the Philippines and Indonesia.

PCG spokesman Commander Armand Balilo said the vessel arrived last Tuesday and would be named BRP Capones, after the Capones lighthouse in Zambales.

Capones would join the “Parola” (lighthouse) class ships of the PCG, namely BRP Tubbataha, BRP Malabrigo and BRP Malapascua.

Balilo said Capones would be deployed to patrol the newly opened roll on-roll off (RORO) sea route from Davao City-General Santos City to Bitung in Indonesia.

President Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo jointly inaugurated the new sea route last April 30 in Davao City.

“This RORO route is still new. We leave it to the private sector to explore its full potential in the shipping trade, but for us we need to ensure the safety of the ships traversing this route,” Balilo said.

Balilo said Capones is still conducting sea trial. “The last I heard it is ready for sea, we just need to commission the vessel so it could already be dispatched,” he added.

Balilo said the PCG has four MRRVs in their fleet, with two of them patrolling Benham Rise in the eastern seaboard.

The PCG is expecting a total of 10 brand new MRRVs from Japan in a span of three years or until next year.

Balilo said the PCG is optimistic that they would have better response time once their four big ships ­– two units 92-meter Coast Guard Cutter-type ships from France and two units 84-meter ships from Japan – arrive in the country in 2019 and in 2020, respectively.

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