Newest PH Coast Guard vessel arriving next week
Philippine and Japanese officials on Friday witnessed the maiden voyage of the latest Japanese-built sea asset of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) that will be deployed to patrol the country’s territorial waters.
Adm. Artemio Abu, commandant of the PCG, was elated to welcome the BRP Melchora Aquino into the coast guard’s fleet, saying the construction of the 97-meter multirole response vessel (MMRV) was another testament to the close ties between the two countries.
“The Filipino people are enthusiastically waiting for her arrival to our shores,” Abu said at the sendoff ceremony.
Built by Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., the vessel left the Shimonoseki Shipyard in Yamaguchi, Japan, for a five-day voyage. It is expected to arrive in Manila on June 1.
‘Instrument for peace’
“This sturdy white ship will serve as the stalwart protector of our maritime reserve and [an] instrument for peace and tranquility within our territorial waters,” Abu said.
“This ship will become a symbol of hope and a source of national pride of our maritime nation. It will also serve as an instrument in promoting the rules of law at sea and enhancing amity among neighboring nations in the region,” he added.
The PCG commandant said its sister ship, the BRP Teresa Magbanua, is presently participating in the Marine Pollution Exercise among coast guard personnel of the Philippines, Indonesia and Japan in Indonesian waters.
The two MRRVs were procured by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) as part of its Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project Phase 2 to improve the PCG’s maritime patrol capability amid the Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea.
Modeled after the Kunigami-class vessels of the Japan Coast Guard, these vessels were the largest in the PCG’s present fleet.
The DOTr bought the two vessels for 14.6 billion yen through a 16.5-billion yen official development assistance loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
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