MANILA, Philippines – One of 10 multi-role response vessels (MRRV) acquired from Japan is expected to arrive on Aug. 18 wherein the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is beefing up its patrol capability in the West Philippine Sea in the face of Chinese encroachment on areas within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
The BRP Tubbataha will help to strengthen the PCG in performing its mandate as a maritime security and law enforcement operations unit in guarding and patrolling coastal territories against pirates, smugglers, and other lawless elements. Likewise, it could also be used in search and rescue operations.
Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Commander Armand Balilo said yesterday that the vessel may be deployed beyond the 12-nautical mile territorial water limit in the western seaboard if necessary.
Balilo said, “It is a Coast Guard vessel. It is a multi-role vessel and it would perform Coast Guard functions. Considering that the Philippine Coast Guard is being asked to (help) in the West Philippine Sea, if the Department of Transportation (DOT) would instruct us to patrol beyond the 12 nautical miles, then we would deploy a ship and it is possible that we would use the BRP Tubbataha.”
BRP Tubbataha and the nine incoming MRRVs will be classified as “parola (lighthouse)” class vessels, and named after lighthouses. Each vessel will be manned by a twenty-five PCG personnel.
The vessel is 44 meters long and has a depth of four meters with a maximum speed of 25 knots. It was named same as the Tubbataha Reef, a marine reservation area in Palawan. – Carl E.