The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), the Philippine Government agency tasked with domestic fisheries protection, launched two newly built steel-hulled patrol boats in Navotas City in Metro Manila on August 10.
The 50-metre patrol boats are the first two of an order for ten such vessels placed by the Philippine Government on behalf of the BFAR, which is in need of larger, more modern fisheries patrol ships.
These ships are designated as multi-mission offshore vessels (MMOV) because of their intended use in fisheries protection, mobile research support, logistics transport, humanitarian and disaster relief, and search and rescue (SAR).
Onboard facilities include an aft deck for launching and recovering rigid-hull inflatable boats to aid in SAR and vessel boarding, a medical clinic and laboratory, a large galley which also includes cold storage space, two mess halls, and a 36-seat conference room.
The MMOVs whose hull numbers are 5001 and 5002 have been named Lapu-Lapu and Francisco Dagohoy, respectively, after two notable figures who led uprisings against Spanish colonisers in the Philippines.
The MMOVs were designed constructed at Josefa Slipways, a local shipbuilder in Navotas. Each ship has an estimated cost of 178.5 million pesos (US$3.5 million) and a construction period of 18 months.
The MMOVs will undergo sea trials prior to commissioning which is, likely to occur in the final quarter of 2017.
Nelson Dela Cruz is Baird Maritime's news editor and Philippines correspondent as well as a former local facilitator of Interferry's FerrySafe project in Manila and Cebu.