PCG spokesman Captain Armand Balilo yesterday said the seventh multi-role response vessel that would be named BRP Cape San Agustin left Yokohama, Japan yesterday and is expected to arrive in Manila on Thursday. Krizjohn Rosales

New Philippine Coast Guard ship to patrol Philippine Rise
Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - February 24, 2018 - 12:01am

MANILA, Philippines — The latest ship of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) that is expected to arrive from Japan on Thursday would immediately be sent to conduct patrols in the Philippine Rise to ensure that the country’s rich marine resources in the area are protected.

PCG spokesman Captain Armand Balilo yesterday said the seventh multi-role response vessel that would be named BRP Cape San Agustin left Yokohama, Japan yesterday and is expected to arrive in Manila on Thursday.

Balilo said they intend to immediately arrange the commissioning ceremony for their latest ship and deploy it in the Philippine Rise, previously called Benham Rise, off Aurora province.

The PCG has already deployed the BRP Suluan while another vessel would be coming from Cagayan province. The two ships would meet up at the Philippine Rise. 

The Philippine Rise has generated much interest because scientific surveys indicate the presence of minerals and natural gas in the area. Solidified methane was reportedly found during the mapping activities and there are massive oil deposits.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) had also highlighted the Philippine Rise as a major food source because it has a rich and diverse ecosystem that attracts migratory commercial fish like tuna, marlin and mackerel.

President Duterte had ordered the patrols in the Philippine Rise after the Chinese research ship Ke Xue Hao was reported to have conducted “scientific research” in the area.

The BRP Cape San Juan in Tagum City, Davao del Norte is the seventh of 10 multi-role research vehicles being built by the Japan Marine United Corp. Yokohama shipyard under the Official Development Assistance project, via a tied loan extended by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The total project cost is P8.8 billion of which P7.373 billion would be covered by the loan facility, while the balance would be shouldered by the Philippines amounting to P1.434 billion.

The 10 multi-role research vehicles are clustered under the PCG’s Parola class and named after lighthouses in the country. The delivery of the 10 vessels is expected to be completed within the year.

Related video:

ARMAND BALILO PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD PHILIPPINE RISE
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