By Betheena Kae Unite
Two anti-smuggling vessels were commissioned into the service of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Wednesday.
The newly-commissioned 24-meter fast patrol boats made in France will be deployed in Mindanao to conduct anti-smuggling missions.
The vessels were named as Barko ng Republika ng Pilipina (BRP) Malamawi and BRP Kalanggaman.
According to Capt. Armand Balilo, Coast Guard spokesman, the vessels complete the four fast-patrol boats acquired by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for the Coast Guard from France.
The first two patrol boats were commissioned as BRP Panglao and BRP Boracay.
They were named after the prominent Philippine islands known for their tourism aesthetic and environmental features.
“Mabilis itong makakapanghabol, mabilis ang makina, in fact, ito ang mga pinakamabilis na barko na meron tayo sa Pilipinas (It can rapidly chase, in fact these are the fastest boats we have in the Philippines). The vessels have radar system that can detect vessels involved illegal activities,” Balilo said.
It was also disclosed that the boats will be utilized jointly by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and Coast Guard in going after smugglers attempting to enter goods through the country’s backdoor, as well as to conduct maritime safety operations.
Admiral Elson Hermogino, Coast Guard commandant, said the four boats “will be the new face of the PCG’s multi-purpose craft.”
‘Measuring 24 meters long and with top-speeds of 30 knots, the fast patrol boat is both agile and sturdy, perfect for patrolling our maritime boundaries as well as the narrow straits in between the islands of the archipelago,” Hermogino said.
The ships, according to Hermogino, were newly-constructed by maritime technology expert and shipbuilder OCEA in France.
“With the introduction of two more such fine ships to our fleet, our operations will only become better and more efficient. This is the way of the modern Coast Guard-modern equipment to match the skill and courage of our men and women,” the commandant said.
Since the arrival of the first two patrol boats, Hermogino furthered, they have been performing well in the Coast Guard’s surveillance and law enforcement operations against smuggling, among others.