Philippine Coast Guard Multi-role Response Vessel MRRV 9701 Arrives at Port Area, Manila
Philippine Coast Guard Multi-role Response Vessel MRRV 9701 Arrives at Port Area, Manila

Philippine Coast Guard to Acquire 5 97-meter Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) from Japan

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) plans to acquire five additional 97-meter offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) from Japan as it seeks to beef up its presence in the West Philippine Sea (the South China Sea). The plan has been submitted to the Department of Transportation, which would be forwarded to the National Economic and Development Authority for processing. Inquirer reported that PCG commandant Adm. Artemio Abu met with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) president Dr. Tanaka Akihiko and Japanese Embassy officials at the PCG headquarters on Friday, where they discussed future collaborations, including the acquisition of more patrol ships. Jica earlier funded the PCG’s first two 97-meter vessels through an official development assistance loan of P6.4 billion.

In 2022, 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. 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 reached 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. 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.

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Philippine Coast Guard Multi-role Response Vessel MRRV 9701 Arrives at Port Area, Manila
Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Multi-role Response Vessel BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV 9701) arrives at Port Area, Manila. (Photo by Philippine Coast Guard )

The new multi-role response vessel (MRRV) has a maximum speed of 24 knots and an endurance of 4,000 nautical miles. 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.

The Philippine transportation secretary Jaime J. Bautista vowed on January 12, 2023, the continued comprehensive modernization of the assets and manpower of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG). Secretary Bautista said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) will push for the PCG’s acquisition of assets and equipment as well as the inclusion of its officers in world-class educational programs. The transport chief added he envisions a world-class PCG men and women that can perform like the Coast Guards of other developed countries. The personnel complement of the Coast Guard has grown exponentially – from only around 7,000 several years ago to over 26,000 today.

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