Philippines, US launch first vessel maintenance facility

The Philippines and the United States launched Friday, May 10, a Washington-funded vessel maintenance facility at the Sangley Point in Cavite.

The Fleet Maintenance and Repair Group (MRG) Workshop is the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG)'s first facility that was built specifically for vessel maintenance as US' support for the country's "rapidly expanding vessel fleet," the US Embassy in Manila said.

Worth P54 million and designed by the US Coast Guard, the 400-square-meter facility houses a machine shop, a welding shop, an electrical shop, a staff office space, and a storage room.

"The facility’s specialized construction provides a wide range of capabilities that enable repairs on all types of vessels regardless of size, function, or country of origin," the embassy said.

Its construction was funded by the US Defense Department. Meanwhile, the US State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs provided funding for equipment and training for technicians who are assigned to the MRG to conduct maintenance on vessel equipment.

“The MRG Workshop enables the Philippines to conduct more continuous and reliable vessel operations out at sea, counter illegal fishing, strengthen maritime domain awareness, and address unlawful activities from aggressive foreign actors," the embassy's deputy chief of mission, Robert Ewing, said in his remarks.

"This marks another significant evolution in the bedrock partnership between the United States and the PCG," he added.

Ewin also noted Washington's previous efforts to support the PCG's modernization, such as the construction of the US-funded Specialized Education and Technical Building in Balagtas, Bulacan, which opened in 2023 to offer classroom and hands-on courses on vessel operations and engineering for PCG personnel.

The embassy said that the US will continue to support the MRG "in more effectively maintaining the PCG’s vessels to maximize operational presence throughout the Philippines' exclusive economic zone."