BFAR kicks off construction of new vessels

  • DA-BFAR starts building two new vessels intended to curb illegal fishing
  • The offshore vessels, the first of its kind in the country, has a funding cost of  P178.5 million each
  • Vessels will also be utilized for other purposes such as seaborne research activities and calamity response

In an effort to curb illegal fishing, the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) recently launched a project that involves the construction of two new units of steel hulled offshore vessels, the first of its kind in the Philippines, that will boost its presence at sea.

The ceremonial laying of keels for two units of 50.5-meter multi-mission vessels was headed by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and National Coast Watch Center (NCWC) Undersecretary Jose Luis Alano along with other government officials, an article written by James Konstantin Galvezon of  The Manila Times stated.

The multi-mission vessels, which will soon be part of DA-BFAR’s inventory of floating assets intended to guard Philippine waters against illicit fishing practices, the report added.

This momentous event indicates government’s serious commitment for inclusive growth and poverty alleviation in all sectors, particularly agriculture and fisheries sectors, as we further intensify the country’s stance against illegal, unreported, and unregulated [IUU] fishing,” the agriculture secretary was quoted as saying.

Based on the report, the multi-mission vessels, which will stretch half a meter larger than an Olympic-size swimming pool, was designed by Incat Crowther; a reputable ship designer based in the United States.

On the other hand, all plans, drawings, and calculations are in accordance with the rules of the internationally acclaimed Bureau Veritas Classification Society known for its expertise in Testing, Inspection and Certification.

Funding cost of each of the vessel is around P178.5 million. Construction, which will be undertaken within 18 months at Josefa Slipway Inc., a medium category local shipyard in Navotas City,  is made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Maritime Industry Authority, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy and DA-BFAR.

Launched almost a year after the enactment of the amendments to the Philippine Fisheries Code, the project sought to mandate an integrated approach on fisheries management comprised of a Monitoring, Control, and Surveillance (MCS) Program to curb and deter IUU fishing practices.

Aside from fighting destructive forms of fishing, the vessels will also be utilized for other purposes such as seaborne research activities and calamity response, BFAR noted.

With the construction of the said assets, the Philippines as a member country of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission can now also fulfill its commitment to conduct MCS activities in distant waters such as the High Seas Pocket Number 1, a tuna rich fishing ground, as well as augment its existing capacity to operate at the West Philippine Sea and other non-traditional fishing grounds, the agency further revealed.

The construction of the two vessels is just the initial undertaking of the government from its target to build six fishing vessels with a combined worth of more than P1 billion over the next three years.