94-meter MRRV acquired from Japan launched
The first of two 94-meter multi-role-response vessel (MRRV) acquired by the Philippine Coast Guard from Japan was formally launched in Japanese shipyard on Monday morning.
The vessel which was bought through iofficial development assistance by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) under the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project Phase II (MSCIP Phase 2) was launched at the Shimonoseki Shipyard of Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd.
The two MRRVs will be the largest vessels of the Coast Guard's fleet once it is delivered.
The launching ceremony was physically and virtually witnessed by the Philippine and Japan officials including Mitsubishi CEO and President Toru Kitamura, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commandant Vice Admiral George Ursabia, Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel V, Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko and Satoko Tanaka, from the Japan International Cooperation Agency ( JICA).
In his speech, Kitamura said the outfitting work for the vessel will be started after Monday's launch.
"After this launching, we will start the outfitting work on a whole scale (towards the delivery) scheduled on March next year. Please rest assured that we will work safety and dedicate ourselve to its completion. We appreciate your continued guidance and encouragement as we move to the next stage," he said.
Laurel said the first 94 meter MRRV is set to arrive in the country on March 2022 followed by the second by May of the same year.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade welcomed the two new MRRVs to the PCG’s fleet as he said this is a breakthrough towards the government's thrust of modernizing and upgrading the 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,” he said.
Tugade said once delivered will be of great help in responding to maritime incidents in the waters and exclusive economic zone (EEZ), such as in search and rescue operations and maritime security patrols, as well as enforcement of marine environmental laws, among others.
Ursabia said the addition of the two MRRVs 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 94-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," he said.
The MRRV's that are modeled after the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) Kunigami-class vessels with a maximum speed of not less than 24 knots, and an endurance of not less than 4,000 nautical miles are expected to improve the PCG's maritime security and maritime safety capabilities.
According to the PCG these "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," it added.
The PCG noted that the ships were acquired under the MSCIP Phase 2, a Japanese-assisted project funded by official development assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) amounting to approximately 16,455,000,000 yen.
"The contract between the DOTr and Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. for the design, construction, and delivery of the two 94-meter MRRVs amounting to 14,550,000,000 yen was signed on December 27 2019 and became effective on 08 May 2020," it stated. Robina Asido/DMS