The first of two 97-meter multi-role response vessels (MMRVs) acquired by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) under the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project Phase II (MSCIP Phase 2) has been launched at the Shimonoseki Shipyard of Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. in Japan today, 26 July 2021.
The two MRRVs will be the largest vessels of the PCG’s fleet, once delivered. These MRRV's modeled after the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) Kunigami-class vessels are expected to improve the PCG's maritime security and maritime safety capabilities.
Each of the new MRRVs measure approximately 97 meters, has a maximum speed of not less than 24 knots, and an endurance of not less than 4,000 nautical miles. The ships are capable of conducting sustained maritime patrols in the country’s maritime jurisdictions, including the West Philippine Sea and Philippine Rise.
In addition, the two vessels will significantly boost the capabilities of the PCG in conducting maritime search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.
Through the accelerated construction of the Japanese shipbuilder, the first 97-meter MRRV is expected to arrive in Manila by March 2022, while the second vessel will arrive two months later or by May 2022.
The addition of the two new MRRVs to the PCG’s fleet is welcomed by DOTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade who stressed that the acquisition of new vessels is a breakthrough towards the government's thrust of modernizing and upgrading the country's maritime safety and border protection.
“The modernization of Philippine Coast Guard has been going fast and quick and very meaningful. In fact, in this effort to make it quick, fast, and very meaningful, the government of Japan has contributed very much. And to which I express my appreciation for your continued support,” Secretary Tugade said.
The new vessels, according to the DOTr Secretary, will be of great help in responding to maritime incidents in the country's waters and exclusive economic zone (EEZ), such as in the conduct of search and rescue operations and maritime security patrols, as well as in the enforcement of marine environmental laws, among others.
For his part, PCG Commandant, Admiral George V Ursabia Jr noted that the addition of the two MRRVs – the biggest in the fleet – is a big stride in strengthening the country’s maritime security and maritime safety capabilities.
“We are making a milestone, not just for the Department of Transportation and Philippine Coast Guard, but also for the Philippines – acquiring the first-ever biggest ship for the Coast Guard. It is a 97-meter multi-role response vessel. It is a big stride in the development of our country in the context of maritime security and maritime safety,” Admiral Ursabia expressed.
The MSCIP Phase 2 is a Japanese-assisted project funded by an Official Development Assistance (ODA) Loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) amounting to approximately JPY 16,455,000,000 (JPY 16.5 billion).
The contract between the DOTr and Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. for the design, construction, and delivery of the two 97-meter MRRVs amounting to JPY 14,550,000,000 (JPY 14.6 billion) was signed on 27 December 2019 and became effective on 08 May 2020.