CHRISTENING. A bottle of wine is about to be broken on the hull of the MRRV-9701 as part of its commissioning as "BRP Teresa Magbanua" by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Friday (May 6, 2022). The vessel, the first of two such vessels procured from Japan, is considered the largest in the PCG fleet and is seen to boost the uniformed service's maritime capabilities. (Photo courtesy of PCG)

MANILA – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has formally commissioned its newest and largest vessel “BRP Teresa Magbanua”, a 97-meter multi-role response vessel (MRRV) made by Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. in Japan.

During the commissioning ceremony on Friday, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade highlighted how the newest addition to the PCG fleet would boost its capability to perform “humanitarian” missions and address its “safety concerns and commitments” in Philippine waters.

The new vessel, with the designation MRRV-9701, has a maximum speed of 24 knots and an endurance of 4,000 nautical miles. It is seen to boost the PCG’s capability in patrolling the country’s maritime territory and providing a swift response to offshore and coastal incidents.

The PCG’s latest vessel was named after Teresa Magbanua, a school teacher and military leader who is known as the “Visayan Joan of Arc" and Panay’s first woman fighter.

The vessel arrived at Port Area, Manila on February 26 after its departure from the Shimonoseki Shipyard in Japan. It was modeled after the Japan Coast Guard Kunigami-class vessels.

Tugade also thanked the Japanese government for supporting the modernization efforts of the PCG and other projects of the Duterte administration.

“Ito ‘ho ay magpapatunay at magpapabigay-tibay na yung samahan ng Republika ng Pilipinas at Gobyerno ng Hapon ay firm and strong (This proves and enhances the relationship between the Philippines and Japan to be firm and strong),” he said.

In his speech, PCG Commandant, Adm. Artemio Abu, said a second 97-meter MRRV would reach the Philippines in June, to be dubbed the “BRP Melchora Aquino”.

Abu thanked President Rodrigo Duterte and Tugade for helping the PCG’s modernization efforts and transforming it into a “strong, capable, and reliable uniformed, armed, sea-going, and humanitarian service.”

The two vessels were procured under the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project Phase 2 of the Department of Transportation. (PNA)