Coast Guard's most modern ship to patrol West Philippine Sea, Benham Rise
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - July 18, 2019 - 9:24am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard's (PCG) newest, biggest and most modern vessel will be used to patrol the West Philippine Sea and Benham or Philippine Rise.

The French-made offshore patrol vessel was launched in France on Wednesday and will be called BRP Gabriela Silang. It is expected to be delivered to Manila by the first week of December.

PCG personnel, who will be the new ship's sailing crew, will undergo training on September.

Aside from patrolling the Philippine waters, the Gabriela Silang will be used for the campaign against piracy and terrorism in the southern part of the country.

According to the PCG, the offshore patrol vessel has a length of 83.6 meters, maximum speed of 20 knots, can sail for 22 days and has a capacity of 64 crew members.

The ship's main engine is a hybrid diesel-electric type, the first vessel of the PCG that uses this type of engine.

One of the patrol vessel's most modern capacity is its mission management system (MMS) that has a dedicated command and control center, radars, automatic identification system, communication equipment, surveillance equipment, and day and night vision camera.

"The MMS uses advanced technologies on computer and radio techniques to improve operational efficiency of its users with the help of the multi-user system that can compile and maintain the tactical common operational picture, situation awareness, target detection, tracking and information, record and replay, information display and exchange of information with other units," the PCG said in Filipino.

The ship also has a helideck and a hangar that can accommodate the PCG's helicopter EC 145T2, which has yet to be delivered.

With these capabilities, the BRP Gabriela Silang can respond to marine environmental pollution, such as oil spills uring its containerized anti-polution equipment.

It also has a hyperbaric chamber for those who have diving sickness and a survivor room that can accommodate those who will be rescued.

BRP Gabriela Silang was constructed by French shipbuilder OCEA under the Philippine Ports and Coast Guard Capability Development program of the Department of Transportation.

The deal worth P5.6 billion or €97 million was signed in September 2014.

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