MANILA (PNA) -- The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has commissioned into service BRP Malapascua, its third multirole response vessel (MRRV) from Japan, in a ceremony held at its headquarters in Manila Monday.
The activity was spearheaded by Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade and House of Representatives Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez as guest of honor.
The MMRV is equipped with fire monitors, night vision camera, radio direction finder, a work boat and bulletproof navigational bridge.
“The MRRV will be the primary rescue vessel within the PCG district’s area of responsibility (AOR) when the extent of the disaster is beyond the capability of floating assets deployed within the area; provide assistance in the control of oil pollution and protection of the marine environment; enforcement of all applicable maritime laws within the designated AOR, particularly relating to illegal fishing and sea patrol; service as platform for rapid response during relief operations in the area; and transport of personnel and logistical support,” the PCG said in its statement.
The BRP Malapascua, with assigned bow number 4403, was built by the Japan Marine United (JMU) Corp. in Yokohama, Japan and was named after Lighthouse Malapascua Island in Cebu in recognition of the significance of lighthouses in the country.
The vessel will be under the helm of PCG Commanding Officer Gary Dale Gamotea.
PCG spokesperson, Commander Armand Balilo, has earlier stated that the BRP Malapascua will be deployed in the vicinity of Zamboanga and Sulu to conduct maritime security patrols to deter the increasing piracy attacks in southern Mindanao.
“Our thrust is to address the sea piracy in Sulu, so we would just install four units of .50-caliber machine guns and immediately it would be deployed to the southern Philippines,” Balilo said.
The PCG’s first two multirole vessels, BRP Tubbataha and BRP Malabrigo, were also deployed to Mindanao.
Balilo expects that the .50-caliber guns would be installed on the BRP Malapascua to support the patrol of BRP Malabrigo in the Zamboanga-Jolo route.
The PCG is set to receive seven more MRRVs until next year.
The acquisition of the MRRVs is under the project Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project, which was awarded by the transportation department to the JMU Corp. It is being implemented as an Official Development Assistance (ODA) project, via a tied loan extended by the Japan International Corp. Agency.