The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)’s largest vessel acquisition to date, Multi-Role Response Vessel (MRRV)-9701 conducted its official sea trials at the vicinity waters off Japan on 25 to 28 January 2022. Sea trials are initiated to measure a vessel’s performance and general seaworthiness. The test included gauging the vessel’s speed, maneuverability, functionality of equipment, and safety features. MRRV-9701 will soon be commissioned into the Coast Guard service as Barko Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) TERESA MAGBANUA upon its arrival in Manila in February 2022.
MRRV-9701 is the first of two 97-meter vessel projects financed by the Japanese government under Phase II of the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project (MSCIP) between the Republic of the Philippines through the Department of Transportation – Philippines (DOTr) and Japan in October 2016. The sea trials were conducted by the shipbuilder, Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd; Vessel Consultant for MSCIP Phase II project, Japan Marine Science Incorporated; Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (NK) Classification Society; various equipment makers; and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) MRRV-9701 officers and crew. 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.
MRRVs play an important role in severe-weather rescue missions and patrolling in offshore and coastal zones. This vessel has an overall length of approximately 96.6 meters, with a maximum speed of 24 knots and a cruising range of up to 4,000 nautical miles. It is equipped with secure communication systems for Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surveillance, a helideck and hangar for helicopter operations, an underwater remotely operated vehicle for subsurface search and survey, high-speed rubber boats and other essential equipment for maritime domain awareness and maritime law enforcement operations. The ship will make a significant contribution to enhancing the speed of response to maritime accidents or crimes on the Philippines EEZ and high seas.
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 Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project Phase II (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.