Third unit of Japan multi-role response vessel formally commissioned to Coast Guard
The third unit of 44 meter-multi role response vessel from Japan was formally commissioned into Philippine Coast Guard in a ceremony in Manila on Tuesday.
MRRV-4403 BRP Malapascua was commissioned to PCG service by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade at the Coast Guard Headquarters.
Commander Armand Balilo, PCG spokesman, said a vessel is being commissioned to grant her an identity to belong to a service and to authorize her to perform mandated mission of the agency, fly the national ensign, jack flag and the commission pennant.
He said the vessel was named after the lighthouse Malapascua Island in Cebu in recognition of the significance of lighthouses in the maritime country.
Aside from Tugade and the PCG Officer-in-Charge, Commodore Joel Garcia, the event was graced by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Rep. Rodolfo Fari?as and Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa.
In his speech, Ishikawa emphasized “just like the Tubbataha and Malabrigo, the Malapascua will further attest to the friendship between Japan and the Philippines.”
Ishikawa said the vessels will help the PCG to improve its capabilities “to quickly address maritime operation such as patrol, search and rescue and law enforcement.”
He also reiterates a statement of support by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on his remarks.
“At the summit meeting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe clearly stated that Japan would continue to assists the Philippines in its endeavor to develop its society in wide range of (field) such as infrastructure improvement, human business development, poverty reduction and other using Japanese technology and knowledge,” he said.
“Just like the Tubbataha and Malabrigo, the Malapascua will further attest to the friendship between Japan and the Philippines,” he added.
Garcia also noted “Malapascua symbolises the PCG and the Philippine maritime industry.”
In his message, Alvarez reminded the Philippine Coast Guard to serve the people “well” with their newly-arrived vessel.
“Please serve the Filipino nation and please serve them well god bless the PCG and more power,” he said.
Commander Garry Gimotea, the ship captain of MRRV-4403 said the ship with nine PCG personnel on-board successfully steered the vessel to Philippines after it left the Japan Marine United Corporation (JMUC) Yokohama Shipyard last February 24.
Gimotea said they arrived in Naha, Okinawa for refuelling and resupply before they continued their voyage to Manila on February 27.
In an interview with the Daily Manila Shimbun, Gimotea said they would have to train more personnel within a month before the ship will start its deployment.
“We are just nine, and the complement of this ship is 25 so we have to train more (personnel),” he said.
The first two MRRV units of the PCG named as BRP Malabrigo and BRP Tubbataha were both commissioned last year.
These vessels, which were named before lighthouses in the country, were built by the Japan Marine United Corp. (JMUC) Yokohama Shipyard as part of the 10 units of 44-meter MRRV’s that were acquired by the Philippines under the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project of the transportation department.
This procurement was implemented as an Official Development Assistance (ODA) project through a tied loan extended by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The loan facility for the project covers P 7,373,700,000.00 out of the total project of P 8,807,700,000.00 while the balance of P 1,434,000,000.00 will be sourced from the Philippine counterpart.
The delivery of these vessels, which have a standard cruising speed of 25 knots, and a range of 1,500 nautical miles, will be completed by 2018. Robina Asido/DMS