THE Department of Transportation (DOTr) further intensifies its Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project with the formal commissioning of the brand new capital ship BRP Melchora Aquino today, Independence Day, June 12, 2022, to be led by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
The BRP Melchora Aquino (MRRV-9702) is the second 97-meter multi-role response vessel (MRRV) acquired by the DOTr and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), along with the first-commissioned BRP Teresa Magbanua (MRRV-9701) – two of the most advanced assets of the Philippine Coast Guard to date.
The BRP Melchora Aquino arrived at the PCG Headquarters in Port Area, Manila, on May 27, 2022, days after departing from Japan under the sailing crew led by Coast Guard Commander Patrick Babag.
The two MRRVs are under the DOTr’s Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project (MSCIP) Phase II, a Japanese-assisted project funded by the Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan from the Government of Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
With the commissioning of the two MRRVs, the PCG is now more capable of conducting patrols in the country’s maritime jurisdictions, including the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and Philippine Rise (Benham Rise).
Apart from enhancing PCG’s maritime response capability in the Philippine waters, the MRRV will boost the agency’s search and rescue, maritime environment protection, and other maritime operations.
One of the largest and most modern PCG vessels to date, the BRP Melchora Aquino is modeled after the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) Kunigami-class vessel, which has a maximum speed of not less than 24 knots and an endurance of not less than 4,000 nautical miles.
The acquisition of the two MRRVs further solidifies the efforts of DOTr to modernize the PCG.