Japan unveils large multi-role response vessel to boost PH maritime patrol capability

Published July 27, 2021, 10:49 AM

by Roy Mabasa

The Japanese and Philippine governments have unveiled the 94-meter long Multi-Role Response Vessel (MRRV) that will be turned over to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) next year to beef up its maritime patrol activities.

Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko (lower right) and Philippine Ambassador to Tokyo Jose Laurel V lead the virtual launching of the 94-meter multi-role response vessel at the Mitsubishi shipyard in Japan on Monday, July 26, 2021. (Embassy of Japan in Manila)

Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko, Transportation Secretary Art Tugade, and Admiral George Villareal Ursabia, Jr., Commandant of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) attended the virtual ceremony held at the shipyard of the Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. in Japan on Monday, July 26, 2021.

“Attended the virtual launching ceremony of the 94m class patrol vessel with DOTrPH Sec. Tugade. This huge vessel was unveiled through a nautical tradition of blessing the ship and its crew on its voyage, and will become the PCG’s largest flagship in early 2022,” Koshikawa said in a tweet shortly after the ceremony.

The two 94m-MRRVs were built through a ¥16.5-billion fund from the Japanese government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and are set to become the largest flagships of the PCG’s fleet.

During the ceremony, the Japanese envoy emphasized that the 94m MRRV will be another “milestone” in the long-standing maritime cooperation between Japan and the Philippines.

Koshikawa also conveyed his hope that the MRRV will play a vital role in maritime law enforcement and marine environment in the Philippines, and further deepen the ties between the Japan Coast Guard and the PCG.

The launching featured the Japanese nautical tradition of blessing the ship and its crew on its voyages. Under this tradition, the shipowner cuts the ceremonial cord using a special ax thought to bring good fortune and protection from evil, after which the ship is released from the slipway onto the water.

The first vessel is scheduled for delivery to the Philippines in March 2022 and will be handed over to the PCG in May 2022.

The new MRRVs are aimed to enhance the Philippines’ law enforcement capabilities, assist in preventing maritime accidents and conducting quick rescue operations, and contribute to the overall improvement of maritime safety and security in the Philippines.

The provision of these vessels is expected to further strengthen the strategic partnership between Japan and the Philippines amid security concerns in the region.