1st of PCG’s 2 biggest vessels comes to life in Japan
MANILA, Philippines—The first of the Philippine Coast Guard’s (PCG) two biggest vessels, seen to boost maritime patrols in West Philippine Sea, hit the water for the first time on Monday (July 26) in Japan.
The 94-meter multi-role response vessel with hull number 9701, built by Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., was launched at the Shimonoseki Shipyard.
Some screenshots from the event pic.twitter.com/aqs67ykRcR
— Frances Mangosing 🇵🇭 (@FMangosingINQ) July 26, 2021FEATURED STORIESGLOBALNATIONGLOBALNATION
The Japanese shipbuilder had signed an P7 billion deal with the Philippines to build two patrol ships for the PCG in 2020.
These would be the biggest ships of the PCG and were expected to boost Philippine maritime security operations in the face of China’s territorial grab in West Philippine Sea.
“Five years have passed since the 2016 arbitral award for the Philippines and China on the South China Sea. However, China has dismissed the legitimacy of the award,” said Japanese ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko.
“We are seriously concerned about the situation on the South China Sea,” Kazuhiko said.
“Japan hopes these 94-meter multi-role response vessels for the Philippine Coast Guard will play a vital role in maritime law enforcement directed to the navigation safety, fishing in Philippine Sea,” he said.
The ships were modeled after the Japan Coast Guard Kunigami-class vessels. These will run at a maximum speed of not less than 24 knots, and have an endurance of not less than 4,000 nautical miles.
The first ship was expected to arrive in the Philippines in March 2022, while the second one in May of the same year.
“These vessels— so far the largest of the PCG’s fleet—will greatly provide a much-needed boost to the maritime capabilities of our coast guard to further serve our people, secure our sovereignty and protect our country,” said PCG commandant Admiral George Ursabia Jr., who witnessed the event online along with other Philippine officials.
Tokyo has extended significant assistance to the PCG over the past years by providing equipment, training for maritime safety and security, among others.
The deal is the second phase of the Japanese-assisted PCG Maritime Capability Improvement Project, funded by a loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The first phase involved the acquisition of 10 units of 44-meter multi-role response vessels, which was completed in 2018.
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