14 Desember 2011

The Philippine Navy Expects to Receive the Second USCG Ship Early Next Year

14 Desember 2011

USCGS Dallas WHEC 716 (photo : USCG)

PH Navy getting another refurbished US Coast Guard vessel

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Navy expects to receive another refurbished US Coast Guard cutter, its second, early next year, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said on Tuesday.

"I was told it (cutter) will come early next year. Sigurado na â˜yun (Thatâs for sure)," Gazmin said.

The first Hamilton class cutter, renamed the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, will be commissioned on Wednesday by President Benigno Aquino III.

Gazmin described the acquisition of the Hamilton class cutter as a "hot transfer," with the Philippines to shoulder only the refurbishing of the vessel.

However, no price has been set and Gazmin said the cost of the ship will depend on its condition.

During Monday's turnover at Camp Aguinaldo for the new Armed Forces chief, President Benigno Aquino III vowed to further boost the military's capabilities both for external and internal defense.

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DND eyes 3 more Hamilton-class ships
14 Desember 2011

MANILA, Philippines - The government is planning to acquire as much as three Hamilton-class ships to beef up the Navy’s maritime defense capabilities, officials said yesterday.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said they are trying to acquire two more cutters after they received the BRP Gregorio del Pilar from the US Coast Guard early this year. The BRP Gregorio del Pilar is the Philippines’ first Hamilton-class cutter – a high speed vessel that can cut through waves – and is now its largest ship, at 380 feet long.

“We are trying to acquire three,” he said referring to the Hamilton-class cutters.

This was confirmed by Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Omar Tonsay, who revealed that two more Hamilton-class ships may be acquired from the US next year.

“The plan really is to acquire three ships,” Tonsay said in an interview.

“One may be acquired early next year. The other one (would be acquired) hopefully later next year,” he added.

Tonsay said the two ships would secure the energy projects in Malampaya off Palawan. The funding for the acquisition of the cutters would come from the Department of Energy.

“It will expand the area of sovereignty patrol conducted by the Philippine Fleet,” he said.

Tonsay said they have yet to determine the acquisition costs for the two ships. He, however, said the cost for each ship would not be far from that of BRP Gregorio del Pilar, whose transfer cost was pegged at P450 million.

The BRP Gregorio del Pilar will be commissioned today to pave the way for its deployment to the West Philippine Sea to secure the country’s energy projects. It was acquired under the US Foreign Military Sales program using proceeds from the Malampaya project funds.

During a visit to Manila last month, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton assured the Philippines that the US would provide a second war ship to the military.

The ship, named US Coast Guard Cutter Dallas, may be transferred to the Philippines by the first or second quarter of 2012. The military has sent a Navy team to the US to determine the requirements for the acquisition of the second ship.

The US Coast Guard Cutter Dallas is a weather high-endurance cutter and has features similar to that of BRP Gregorio del Pilar.

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