PCG boats used in WPS missions join PH-Japan water cannon, towing drills
MANILA, Philippines — Three of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) multirole response vessels often used in regular resupply missions to a military outpost in West Philippine Sea (WPS) participated in joint water cannon and towing drills between Philippines and Japan.
The activities were meant to improve water cannon and towing capabilities of PCG and its Japanese counterpart.
BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV-9701) conducted the exercises in the vicinity waters off Lamao, Bataan from November 20 to 24.
The boat joined the drills along with BRP Malabrigo (MRRV-4402) and BRP Malapascua (MRRV-4403).
BRP Teresita Magbanua is, so far, the biggest PCG ship in its fleet.
“The MRRVs and their sailing crew demonstrated proper handling of emergency towing gears, selecting correct towing line and throwing tow lines accurately to get hold of the ship,” PCG said in a statement over the weekend.
“Also, test protocols and capability demonstration in identifying maritime threats within the area of responsibility was conducted,” it added.
Meanwhile, representatives from Japan Coast Guard were also present to observe the event and “provide points for improvement.”
PCG vessels are being dispatched in the rotation and resupply missions to BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal.
The replenishment operations for the commissioned World War II-era warship became the flashpoint of tensions between Philippines and China.
China continues to assert its sovereignty in almost the entire South China Sea — including most of the western section of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
China takes this position despite a 2016 international tribunal ruling effectively dismissing its claims.
In line with Beijing’s sovereignty claim, China Coast Guard used water cannons against Manila’s resupply fleet for its warship in August and November this year.
Asked if they can also use water cannons to drive Chinese vessels away, PCG spokesperson for the WPS Commodore Jay Tarriela said in August that the civilian armed service would rather use it to put out fire during disasters and emergencies.