Biggest Coast Guard ship to patrol in West Philippine Sea

Published July 17, 2019, 7:13 PM

by Martin Sadongdong & Antonio Colina

By Betheena Unite

A French-made ship, tagged as the biggest ship of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), will be deployed to patrol the disputed West Philippine Sea by December 2019.

The newest and biggest ship of the Philippine Coast Guard – an 83.6-meter Offshore Patrol Vessel 270 – was formally launched at the shipyard of ship builder OCEA in France on Wednesday. (PCG via Betheena Unite / MANILA BULLETIN)
The newest and biggest ship of the Philippine Coast Guard – an 83.6-meter Offshore Patrol Vessel 270 – was formally launched at the shipyard of shipbuilder OCEA in France on Wednesday. (PCG via Betheena Unite / MANILA BULLETIN)

The newest and biggest ship of the Philippine Coast Guard – an 83.6-meter Offshore Patrol Vessel 270 – was formally launched at the shipyard of ship builder OCEA in France Wednesday.

It is expected to be delivered into the country on the first week of December. Once it arrives, it will be commissioned into the service of the Coast Guard and be named as Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas (BRP) Gabriela Silang.

The PCG said BRP Gabriela Silang, its biggest and most modern ship, has a low radar cross section that lessens radar reflectability and is capable to sail amid weather disturbances.

Aside from patrolling the West Philippine Sea, BRP Gabriela Silang will also conduct maritime patrol activities in Benham Rise and will be utilized against piracy and terrorism in the southern part of the country.

The vessel has a maximum speed of 20 knots and can sail up to 22 days. It has a capacity of 64 crew. It is also equipped with a helideck and hangar to complement the PCG helicopter (EC 145T2) which will also arrive soon.

It may also be used for recovery operations and search and rescue, maritime law enforcement and maritime surveillance. It can also be utilized to respond on marine environmental pollution like oil spills using its containerized anti-pollution equipment.

Coast Guard added that the vessel is equipped with a Mission Management System (MMS) that has a dedicated command and control center, radars, Automatic Identification System (AIS), communication equipment, surveillance equipment, day and night vision camera, among others.

It also has two nine-meter Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats designed for law enforcement operations.

The vessel was acquired under the Philippine Ports and Coast Guard Capability Development program of the Department of Transportation (DOTr). The acquisition of the vessel was signed in September 2014 under a P5.6-billion contract.

The launching of the vessel was attended by Admiral Elson Hermogino, Coast Guard commandant; Captain Ferdinan Picar, deputy chief of Coast Guard Staff for Strategic Studies and Modernization; Captain Armando Balilo, Coast Guard spokesperson, and other officials of the DOTr and Maritime Industry Authority.

 
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