PCG says Japan-made vessels may be used to augment security in West Philippine Sea

Photo Credit: Maritime Security Review

• The Philippine Coast Guard may deploy Japan-made vessels to augment security patrols in the West Philippine Sea if necessary
• The PCG acquired  10 Multi-Role Response Vessels from Japan through a development assistance loan from JICA
• The acquisition of the new vessels is part of the coast guard’s modernization program

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said 10 new vessels it acquired from Japan may be used to augment security patrols by Philippine Navy in the West Philippine Sea if the need arises.

PCG Commander Rear Admiral William Melad told reporters during a chance interview at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City on Thursday, February 25, the ten 44-meter multi-role response vessels (MRRV) will mainly be deployed for search and rescue and other needs, but could also be used for security patrols.

“The MRRVs can be deployed anywhere but the project is all about maritime safety improvement,” Melad said.

“Basically it’s for search-and-rescue and other needs, but if needed to augment our naval presence at the West Philippine Sea, it could be deployed there, as it could also be used for security patrols,” he added.

Melad explained that the MRRV acquisition is part of the modernization program under the Maritime Safety Improvement Project aimed to equip the coast guard with necessary assets to protect the national marine interest and to uphold maritime security within Philippine seas.

An article published by The Standard said the acquisition of the MRRVs costs P8.8 billion and was partially funded through an official development assistance loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The first two MRRVs are set to be delivered this September, another six units will arrive next year and the remaining two will be delivered in 2018. The vessels will be deployed to various PCG Districts across the country, including Manila, La Union, and Puerto Princesa.

Melad revealed that aside from the 10 MRRVs, the government is currently negotiating a deal with Japan for bigger vessels that would further improve PCG’s capability.