Captain Armand Balilo, spokesman of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) recently announced the arrival of the latest vessel from Japan. The BRP Cape San Agustin response vessel is set to add to the two vessels previously deployed in the Philippines Rise.This new ship will be immediately sent to conduct patrols in the Philippine Rise.
Cape San Agustin joins six existing Multi-Role Response Vessels (MRRV) that were commissioned by the PCG between October 2016 and November 2017. The vessels were acquired under a government program known as the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project for the PCG.
According to scientific surveys, the Philippine Rise generated much interest due to the presence of minerals and natural gas in the area. Solidified methane was reportedly found during the mapping activities, where massive oil deposits are also believed to be under its waters and sheaths.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) also said that the Philippine Rise is a major source of aquatic food. Because of its rich and diverse ecosystem, it attracts migratory commercial fish species like tuna, mackerel, and marlin.
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the patrols in the Philippine Rise after a Chinese vessel was reported to have conducted a scientific research in the area.
To date, the government currently has six research vehicles in the area, built by the Japan Marine United Corp. Yokohama shipyard under the Official Development Assistance Project through a loan extended by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
A new vessel, the BRP Cape San Juan in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, will be the seventh of the 10 research ships included in the project, which costs P8.8 billion; of which, P 7.373 billion would be covered by the loan facility, while the balance would be shouldered by the Philippines amounting to P 1.434 billion.
The 10 multi-role research vehicles are clustered under the PCG’s parola class and named after lighthouses in the country. The delivery of another 10 vessels of the country is expected to be completed within the year.
WITH REPORTS FROM: Evelyn Macairan, The Philippine Star
PHOTOS FROM: Wota Aki of MarineTraffic.com, CNN Philippines, bm.cari.com.my, http://globalnation.inquirer.net