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PH Coast Guard’s biggest ship arriving April 7

/ 03:56 PM April 06, 2020

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Coast Guard said its biggest ship, the offshore patrol vessel (OPV) BRP Gabriela Silang, will arrive on Tuesday (April 7).

The 83.6 meter OPV, built by French shipbuilder OCEA, was supposed to arrive in the Philippines in January. While en route to Manila, it was diverted to Malta to provide assistance to Filipinos in the Middle East who wanted to be repatriated.

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The Philippines and OCEA signed the contract for the OPV worth P5.6 billion in 2014. PCG earlier received four fast patrol boats as part of the project.

The PCG earlier said that the ship will be used to patrol the West Philippine Sea, Benham Rise and conduct anti-piracy and terrorism missions in Mindanao.

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The ship is designed for general coastal patrol, law enforcement and maritime surveillance.

With the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, PCG spokesperson Commodore Armando Balilo said the ship may also be used as a floating hospital, but only as a last resort.

“This still needs to be discussed with the Department of Health. It has to undergo inspection so we can determine (if it can be used as a floating hospital) but only as a last resort,” he said.

“If it can’t be used as a floating hospital, then we can use it as a transport ship for the meantime,” he said.

Edited by TSB

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TAGS: Benham Rise, BRP Gabriela Silang, coast guard, Coronavirus, coronavirus Philippines, coronavirus update, COVID19, Middle east, patrol, ship, surveillance, West Philippine Sea
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