Ph Coast Guard launches ‘most modern’ ship for West Philippine Sea patrol

Robie de Guzman   •   July 18, 2019   •   1725

Courtesy: Philippine Coast Guard

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard on Wednesday said its “most modern” patrol ship has been launched by shipbuilder OCEA in France.

The PCG said the 83.6-meter long offshore patrol vessel, which will be commissioned as Barko Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Gabriela Silang, will join the service in December.

The ship will be used to patrol the West Philippine Sea, Benham Rise and other anti-piracy and terrorism campaigns in Southern Philippines.

The vessel is equipped with a mission management system (MMS) to conduct maritime surveillance, law enforcement, situation awareness and exchange of information with other units and general coastal patrol of territorial waters.

It is also capable of responding to marine environmental pollution such as oil spills and has a room that can treat persons rescued from the sea.

The new vessel can accommodate 64 crew onboard and has a maximum speed of 20 knots, and an endurance that will take up to 22 days long. It also has two onboard 9-meter Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats with speed of 40 knots.

Its main engine is a hybrid engine of diesel-electric type, which is the first vessel under PCG to utilize diesel-electric engine.

The PCG said 18 personnel, who will serve as the sailing crew, are set to travel to France in September to start training in manning the vessel. The vessel and the sailing crew are expected to arrive in Manila in the first week of December.

The offshore patrol vessel was made under a financing agreement with the BNP Paribas (France). The contract, signed in 2017, costs P5.6 billion (€97,032,507).

Included in this project are the four 24-meter Fast Patrol Boats that were already delivered last year.

13 missing after boat sinks near Bajo de Masinloc; search ops underway – PCG

Robie de Guzman   •   November 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Around 13 Filipino fishermen went missing after their boat sank near Bajo de Masinloc in Zambales last week, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said on Wednesday.

In a statement, the PCG said it is currently conducting operations to search for the missing fishermen of “FFB Three Sister.”

The agency said the fishing vessel sank on Nov. 7 at around 3 a.m. as it was sailing from Recto (also called Reed) Bank going to Barangay Sisiman in Mariveles, Bataan.

Strong winds and huge waves brought about by Tropical Cyclone ‘Quiel’ allegedly caused the boat to sink.

A few days after the incident, a fisherman named Angelito Epetito Jr. was rescued after he was found floating using a container along Bajo de Masinloc.

The PCG said the boat mishap was only reported to its station in Bataan through a radio communication on Nov. 11, adding that a team was immediately deployed after it received the information.

The rescued fisherman said he got separated from his companions and was unable to regroup with them.

He said he remained afloat for four days until rescue came.

The PCG said it has dispatched three of its floating assets – the BRP Tubbataha, BRP Capones and the BRP Boracay – to search and save the lives of the missing fishers.

It added that it is also set to coordinate with the Chinese Coast Guard to seek information on the possible whereabouts of the 13 missing fishermen.

Coast Guard retrieves body in Binangonan, Rizal

Robie de Guzman   •   November 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Tuesday said it has retrieved a body floating in the water off a village in Binangonan, Rizal.

In a message posted on Facebook, the PCG said the body was found on Sunday, Nov. 10 at the vicinity waters off Batasin Area, Sitio Wawa in Barangay Libis.

The body has yet to be identified by authorities.

The PCG also did not say whether the body was of a male or a female.

The PCG said personnel from the Coast Guard Sub-Station in Talim Island conducted the search and retrieval operations, with the help of two barangay officials, following a report from a concerned citizen.

The body was brought to a nearby funeral home following investigation in Binangonan Pritil wharf.

PCG receives patrol boat, x-ray machine from Japan

Robie de Guzman   •   November 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said it has received a patrol boat and an x-ray inspection machine from the Embassy of Japan.

A ceremony for the turnover of the 15-meter patrol boat and x-ray inspection machine was held at the PCG Headquarters on Monday at the Port Area in Manila.

PCG Commandant Vice Admiral Joel Garcia said the equipment will help further enhance the country’s maritime safety, security and law enforcement, as well as marine environmental protection and maritime search and rescue.

Garcia added the 15-meter patrol boat, which runs at 29 knots with up to 14-passenger capacity, is suitable for quick response operations and retrieval operations. It isalso capable to accosting alleged terrorists, intruders, and poachers within the Philippine territory.

The x-ray inspection machine, on the other hand, is a compact and battery-operated equipment suitable for inspection in high or narrow places. It is controlled using a remote with a distance of up to 20 meters and provides real-time inspection images.

According to Garcia, the donation is part of the Japanese government’s promise to President Rodrigo Duterte that they would help strengthen the country’s efforts against terrorism and piracy in its domain.

“Our strong cooperation with Japan aids our efforts in preventing terror attacks, specifically kidnap for ransom within Philippine waters which, not only enhances maritime security, but also increases the number of economic undertakings in the region,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister Masahiro Nakata of the embassy’s Ministry of Economic Affairs said that Japan is looking forward to boost its strategic relations with the Philippines on evolving challenges in the future, specifically in protecting its territorial waters and marine resources.

“Our commitment to the Philippines is far from over. Rest assured that we will further support the operations of the PCG by providing high-quality assets and by instilling the latest maritime know-hows to its technical personnel,” Nakata said.

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