The Philippine Coast Guard will receive ten new multirole response vessels from Japan starting next year until 2018 via a financial assistance of US $156 million from Japan.
The first three vessels would start arriving every other month in the second half of next year, five more by 2017 and the remaining two in 2018, Coast Guard officer-in-charge Rear Admiral William Melad was quoted as saying by Philstar news daily Tuesday.
“Our intention is to deploy these multi-role response vessels (MRRV) to the different districts,” he said. “We would assess which district needs an immediate vessel and we will give priority to that district... We would see if there is a need to add ships to the West Philip- pine Sea.”
Some of these ships will be assigned to the West Philippine Sea to augment those being used for search and rescue operations.
Melad said the deployment of more ships to the West Philippine Sea was not in response to the territorial dispute with China.
The Coast Guard is also taking into consideration that the vessels to be deployed in the West Philip- pine Sea should be bigger than 40 meters to withstand the big waves and strong winds during typhoons, Melad said.
“These 40-meter vessels would be used for security, law enforcement and for search and rescue,” he said. “These are multi-role vessels so these could perform several functions such as prevent illegal fishing and anti-piracy patrol.”
The acquisition of the 10 vessels from Japan is covered by the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project.
It was awarded by the Department of Transportation and Communications to the Japan Marine United Corp.
It is being implemented as an official development assistance project, via a tied loan extended by the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA).
The loan facility covers P7.373 billion out of the total project of P8.807 billion (US $186 million). The balance would be covered by the Philippine counter- part of P1.434 billion (US $30 million).