MANILA -- Even before reaching the Philippine waters after its commissioning to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the offshore patrol vessel, BRP Gabriela Silang, is all-set for its first-ever mission — to repatriate overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in case hostilities erupt in the Middle East.
BRP Gabriela Silang left Saint-Nazaire, France for its maiden voyage on Dec. 30, 2019, and was initially scheduled to reach the Philippines on Feb. 10, 2020.
“Mahalaga para sa amin ang kapakanan ng ating mga kababayan na nagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa. Makakaasa po kayo na nakatutok ang PCG sa mga nangyayari sa Middle East para masiguro ang kaligtasan ng ating mga makabagong bayani (The welfare of our OFWs is important to us. Be assured that the PCG is monitoring the situation in the Middle East)," PCG Commandant Admiral Joel Garcia said.
Currently docked at Malta Freeport, BRP Gabriela Silang and its 35 crew members are now preparing to sail to the Middle East, specifically to Oman or Dubai, to ensure the safety and security of OFWs through ferry missions.
In case of conflict, OFWs will be brought to safer ports where they may be airlifted, as the need arises.
Considered as the largest and most advanced aluminum hull OPV in the world to date, the BRP Gabriela Silang can ferry approximately 500 people at one time.
According to the PCG, the vessel has a range of 8,000 nautical miles at 15 knots and an endurance of up to five weeks of operation. It has an excellent sea keeping ability and maneuverability on top of the great comfort it offers for people onboard.
The PCG will also deploy 18 additional crew members to assist BRP Gabriela Silang in its mission in the Middle East. (PCG PR)