The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has formally commissioned its newest and largest vessel “BRP Teresa Magbanua”, a 97-meter multi-role response vessel (MRRV) made by Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. in Japan. The new vessel, with the designation MRRV-9701, has a maximum speed of 24 knots and an endurance of 4,000 nautical miles. It is seen to boost the PCG’s capability in patrolling the country’s maritime territory and providing a swift response to offshore and coastal incidents. During the commissioning ceremony Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade highlighted how the newest addition to the PCG fleet would boost its capability to perform “humanitarian” missions and address its “safety concerns and commitments” in Philippine waters.
The PCG’s latest vessel was named after Teresa Magbanua, a school teacher and military leader who is known as the “Visayan Joan of Arc” and Panay’s first woman fighter. The vessel arrived at Port Area, Manila on February 26 after its departure from the Shimonoseki Shipyard in Japan. It was modeled after the Japan Coast Guard Kunigami-class vessels. The Japanese government for supporting the modernization efforts of the PCG and other projects of the Duterte administration. The second 97-meter MRRV would reach the Philippines in June, to be dubbed the “BRP Melchora Aquino”. The two vessels were procured under the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project Phase 2 of the Department of Transportation.
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.
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.