The Philippine government eagerness to battle illegal fishing will soon get a big boost as the construction of world class two units steel hulled offshore vessels worth P360 million is on its way and will be made by a local shipbuilder.
The Department of Agriculture (DA), together with their operating agency, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) initiate the construction and ceremonial keel laying of the 50.5-meter multi-mission vessels on Thursday at a local shipyard in Navotas City.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said that it is a serious commitment of our government to guard and fight against illicit fishing practices and other forms of illegal activities inside Philippine waters.
“This is also something to be proud of as it is proof that local ship-building companies have the capability to build world-class vessels,” he added.
The BFAR said the vessels can be used for law enforcement, research, rescue and relief operations, and development as well.
The MMOVs would be the first vessels of their class to be built in the Philippines. It is expected to be completed in 18 months. It would augment BFAR’s lone multi-mission vessel, the 60-meter MV DA-BFAR (DYCA), in patrolling the high seas.
In order for the local ship manufacturer meet international standards, The Bureau Veritas, a member of the International Association of Classification Societies, will monitor the design and construction of the vessels.
The BFAR said the construction of the vessels will serve as a framework for local firms who want to manufacture ships for the government and it will need around six units of the multimission vessels to further boost its efforts to fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUUF).
The agency plans to ask Congress for a higher budget next year to fund the construction of additional ships. – Carl E.