03 Februari 2016
Large patrol vessel of Japan (photo : vspg)
While the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) expects the delivery of 10 multi-role vessels from Japan starting this year until 2018, the maritime agency is working on getting two bigger vessels that would be deployed to the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and elsewhere.
Newly appointed PCG commandant Rear Admiral William Melad confirmed on Monday that they are in communication with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on the acquisition of 92-meter vessels.
“We are currently discussing with JICA for possibility of acquiring bigger vessels for PCG as stipulated in our Capability Development Plan through Japan’s ODA (Official Development Assistance),” he said.
Back in 2009, the PCG initiated efforts to acquire bigger vessels from Japan until a feasibility study was submitted three years later and was resubmitted in 2014.
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), mother agency of the PCG, has endorsed the project to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
Melad said the estimated cost per vessel is 11.7 billion yen, but he did not discount the possibility it still could go up.
The PCG is set to acquire three 40-meter vessels from Japan within the year, five more next year, and the remaining two in 2018.
It is part of an ODA project, in which a P7.37-billion loan grant was extended by JICA to purchase these vessels.
But the Coast Guard is looking at the deployment of bigger vessels than 40 meters in the West Philippine Sea to withstand the big waves and strong winds during typhoons.
“The West Philippine Sea could be a logical deployment but it can be deployed anywhere. Today, the basic justification is to improve PCG’s maritime capability,” Melad said.