The Philippine Coast Guard has commissioned two new 44-metre multi-role response vessels (MRRVs) in a formal ceremony in Manila on Wednesday, March 28.
BRP Cape San Agustin and BRP Cabra now join six of their sister ships in the Parola-class of patrol vessels, all of which were built entirely by Japan Marine United Corporation and acquired by the Philippine Government through a JPY18.73 billion (US$176 million) loan agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Like their sisters, Cape San Agustin and Cabra each have two MTU 12V4000M93L 12-cylinder diesel engines with a total output of 2,580kW, Furuno FAR series X and S-band navigation radars, Rohde and Schwartz communications and radio monitoring equipment, bulletproof navigation bridges, and accommodations for one rigid-hull inflatable boat (RHIB) to assist in search and rescue (SAR) and vessel boardings
The acquisition of these patrol vessels is in fulfillment of phase one of the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project which specifically aims to boost the coast guard’s coast watch/patrol and SAR capabilities through the accelerated introduction of more modern floating assets.
The delivery of the Japan-built MRRVs, which began with the delivery of lead ship BRP Tubbataha in August 2016, is expected to conclude this year with the arrival of the as yet unnamed ninth and tenth ships of the class.
The six other MRRVs already in coast guard service have all been going out on regular deployments since their commissioning. Their missions have ranged from anti-terrorism and anti-piracy patrols of Philippine territorial waters to SAR and disaster relief.
Nelson Dela Cruz is Baird Maritime's Philippines correspondent and a former local facilitator of Interferry's FerrySafe project in Manila and Cebu.