BRP Teresa Magbanua (Screengrab from RTVM Facebook live feed)

MANILA – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has deployed its newest and largest vessel, BRP Teresa Magbanua, on Monday to participate in the Regional Marine Pollution Exercise (MARPOLEX) 2022 in Indonesia next week.

In a send-off ceremony, PCG Admiral Artemio Abu said BRP Teresa Magbanua will be joined by BRP Gabriela Silang, BRP Malapascua, and BRP Cape Engaño in the exercise, to assess and improve the oil spill capabilities of the Philippines and Indonesia, with Japan joining the event to “guide improvement.”

“They will also enhance cooperation and capability in firefighting, rescue, and oil spill recovery operations through planning, command and control, and the conduct of integrated operations,” Abu said.

He said oil spill companies in concerned countries will also be “encouraged to combat, control, and recover oil spillage” to accomplish the objectives of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Cooperation Mechanism for Joint Oil Spill Preparedness and Response.

The maritime exercise will be held off the waters of Makassar, Indonesia from May 22 to 29, with the PCG joined by Indonesia’s Directorate of Sea Transportation (DGST) and the Japan Coast Guard (JCG).

The MARPOLEX is held every two years between the PCG and the DGST. The previous exercise was held in July 2019 in Davao City.

On May 7, the PCG formally commissioned the 97-meter multirole response vessel BRP Teresa Magbanua as the newest and largest ship in its fleet.

The ship is one of two such vessels procured in Japan under the Duterte administration, with the second ship, to be dubbed BRP Melchora Aquino set to arrive in the Philippines in June. (PNA)