PCG wants prov'l gov't assist in fleet upgrade PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 December 2010 11:00

In line with its efforts to boost the number of its patrol craft fleet, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) commandant Vice Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo announced that they are looking into the possibility of asking provinces with long coastlines and rich fishing grounds to give them a share in their maritime revenues so that the agency can acquire more modern naval craft.

Tamayo in an interview said an added benefit to the provinces is that the patrol ship that will be acquired in this manner will be used exclusively to defend and monitor the maritime territories of the localities from ravages of poachers, pirates and polluters.

”There are 30 such provinces in the Philippines and if all of them (local leaders) are amenable to our idea, we can obtain an additional 30 ships for the agency," the PCG chief stressed.

He also pointed out that the agency will supply the crews, fuel oil, communication and detection gears so that deal will not be one-sided.

Tamayo said they are still fine tuning their proposal and will come out with a much detail version of it by next year.

The PCG has a total of 50 patrol craft of various design, age, size and capability in its fleet.

Tamayo earlier announced they are looking at the possibility of extending the service life of its search-and-rescue vessels (SARVs) at its fleet.

”We are now doing studies to determine what upgrades we can do to our SARVs to ensure that they will be effective for 20 years or more,” he pointed out.

Service life extension program usually involves the replacement of the ship’s power plant, navigation and communication systems and fitting of new hull plates in badly worn-out areas and installation of new weaponry or equipment.

Such practice is generally accepted in even wealthy nations like the United States, United Kingdom, France and other Western nations as putting active duty ships on service life extension programs is generally much cheaper than ordering new ones.

The PCG chief added such proposal is ideal for the Philippines considering that the country is hard pressed to replace all its patrol ships and SARVs in the near future due to financial constraints.

The maritime patrol agency currently has four SARVs in its fleet.

These are the BRP San Juan (AU 001), BRP EDSA DOS II (AU 002), BRP Pampanga (AU 003) and BRP Batangas (AU 004).

All were acquired between 2000 to 2003 by then PCG commandant Vice Admiral Ruben Lista from Australian defense manufacturer Tenix.

The ships weighing around 275 deadweight tons are 56 meters long and 10.55 meters wide and equipped with two Caterpillar diesel engine, giving it a maximum speed of 26 knots.

It has a complement of 13 officers and 24 rating and is capable of transporting 300 persons during an emergency.

The SARVs have a flight deck capable of supporting the operations of one light helicopter weighting 4,672 kilograms and mounts for .50 caliber machine guns.