The Philippine Coast Guard is set to receive its first Multi-Role Response Vessel this coming September, as the Japanese firm who bagged the P8.8 billion-contract has started building the ships.
Japan Maritime United Corp. (JMU) won the contract to supply 10 brand new warships to the Philippines and production has been started this week according to Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
The DOTC said Transport Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya led the Philippine delegation during the keel laying and safety prayer ceremony held in Yokohama, Japan last Feb. 6.
Keel laying is considered the first milestone in vessel construction, marking the time that steel cutting works are substantially completed and elements are ready for assembly.
The Anzen-kigan-sai, a traditional Japanese Shinto ceremony, was also held to pray for the safe construction of the MRRVs.
“Through this meaningful ceremony, we appreciate the start of construction of the first vessel, and also highlight the full implementation of the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project (MSCIP) after many years of hard work and close cooperation with Japan,” Abaya said.
Each ship is reported to have sophisticated armaments like cruise missiles, surface-to-air missiles, torpedo tubes, and Phalanx CIWS defense systems similar to the ones used by US Navy and Japan Self Defense Forces.
The project is being funded through official development assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
The first warship is expected to arrive in the Philippines in September and will be fitted with military equipment with the help of US forces.
The succeeding vessels meanwhile, will be delivered quarterly beginning December until the final ship arrives in August 2018.
“The warships will be the most advanced sea-based vessels of the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard and will be assigned in different parts of the country to protect its shorelines”, Abaya said.