Japan has started the construction of the two 94-meter Multi-Role Response Vessels (MRRVs) as part of its support to promote maritime safety and security in the Philippines while addressing maritime accidents, aging vessels, and search and rescue during frequent natural disasters.
The construction of the new additional 94- MRRVs under the development assistance of the Japan International Cooperation Agency JICA began this week at a safety prayer ceremony in Japan.
The JPY 16.455 billion two additional MRRVs are under the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project Phase II of JICA and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and targeted for delivery within the Duterte Administration.
According to its specifications, the MRRVs will feature a helicopter hangar and equipment for helicopter operations, marine environmental protection room, and use of special clad steel plate durable for extreme weather conditions.
JICA Philippines Chief Representative Eigo Azuzikawa stressed that the new MRRVs form part of Japan’s continuing support to PCG and to the Philippines’ especially in the new normal and in facilitating maritime law enforcement and commitment in promoting a Free and Open Indo Pacific regime.
The event in Japan was led by project contractor Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd., while officials from the Department of Transportation (DOTr), PCG, Embassy of Japan, and JICA attended virtually.
It is a Japanese tradition to hold a prayer ceremony for safe construction, to be followed by block assembly, which involves steel cutting for parts of the vessel, in preparation for the keel laying, considered as the first major milestone in the construction of a vessel.
From 2016 to 2018, the Japanese government through JICA provided the Philippines with ten 44-meter MRRVs to support the country’s maritime safety and security.
The said vehicles are now in use by the Philippine government especially in COVID-19 response efforts such as transporting medicines and medical supplies, ferrying stranded tourists to their sweeper flights, and securing the cruise ships quarantined in Manila Bay.
JICA also organized shore-based and ship-based training for 45 PCG personnel on vessel maintenance, troubleshooting engine and equipment, machinery management, and safety at work.